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Not only mass decreases are important diagnostic tools

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XenaLives Member Level  Saturday, 09/08/18 08:54:03 AM
Re: Talon38 post# 164844
Post # of 231468 
Not only mass decreases are important diagnostic tools , but mass increases.


Cognitive and Academic Development
Neuroimaging studies using magnetic resonance imaging have shown that the brain structure of a neglected child is significantly altered. The overall cerebral volume of the brain of a neglected child is significantly diminished, with a reduced midsagittal area of the corpus callosum, and the ventricular system is enlarged thereby resulting in decreased cognitive growth, development, and functioning.[19][20] Further studies show that neglected children have poor cerebral hemisphere integration and underdevelopment of the orbitofrontal cortex region which affects the child’s social skills.[21]

Studies on academic progress in neglected children have indicated that these children may experience a drop in their academic performance. Children who have experienced neglect are more likely to have attention deficits and poorer academic achievements.[22] Further, neglect in early childhood can result in a rise in stress levels in the child.[16] Elevated stress levels from neglect can lead to a release of higher levels of cortisol causing damage to the hippocampus which can affects a child’s learning and memory.[23]

A study examining the motor, language, and cognitive development of neglected children showed that the scores from the Bayley Scales of Infant Development were significantly lower than non-maltreated children.[15] Neglected children displayed poor self-control and a lack of creativity in solving problem.[15] Standardized tests become a challenge for neglected children as they perform poorly on intellectual functioning and academic achievement.[15] Further, neglected children perform significantly poorer on IQ tests than non-maltreated children.[24]



The purpose of this chapter is to examine potential mechanisms underlying the welldocumented, complex relationships between maltreatment in childhood and the subsequent development of psychopathology. Thousands of studies over the last fifty years have described various aspects of these relationships. Maltreatment in childhood increases risk for virtually every DSM-IV disorder, from autistic-spectrum disorders to schizophrenia to ADHD to major depression to substance abuse disorders. The mechanisms underlying this maltreatment related increase in risk of neuropsychiatric problems are undetermined. The key question addressed in this chapter is “How can abuse lead to psychopathology?” The perspective of the present chapter is neurodevelopmental. This “lens” provides significantinsight about the sometimes confusing interrelationships between psychopathology, DSM-IV “diagnoses” and developmental trauma or neglect. A neurodevelopmental perspective is meant to compliment other theoretical and experimental views and can provide useful clues to the mechanisms underlying the origins of neuropsychiatric problems. The primary premise of a neurodevelopmental perspective is that the human brain is the organ mediating all emotional, social, cognitive and behavioral functioning.

Neuropsychiatric disorders and psychopathology, therefore, must involve altered functioning of systems in the brain. The specific nature of dysfunction (e.g., anxiety vs inattention vs affect regulation vs thought disorder) will be determined by which neural networks and brain areas are altered. The present chapter provides an overview of key neurodevelopmental processes and important neural networks which are impacted by abuse and suggests mechanisms which may underlie neuropsychiatric problems related to developmental maltreatment. The major conclusion of this chapter is that we can make plausible conclusions regarding the effects of abuse if we understand how these experiences impact the developing brain. Simply stated childhood trauma will result in alterations in the systems in the brain which mediate the stress response and neglect will result in dysfunctions in the neural systems which do not receive appropriately timed, patterned repetitive stimulation.

Two major forms of maltreatment will reviewed in the present chapter: neglect and trauma. Though often co-occurring, these two types of maltreatment are distinctly different in the impact they have on the developing brain, and, therefore, will have differing impact on the development of psychopathology. Neglect, defined from a neurobiological perspective, is the absence of an experience or pattern of experiences required to express an underlying genetic potential in a key developing neural system. Trauma, from a neurobiological perspective, is an experience or pattern of experiences which activate the stress response systems in such an extreme or prolonged fashion as to cause alterations in the regulation and functioning of these systems. Both neglect- and trauma-related abnormalities in neurodevelopment would be predicted to cause significant psychopathology.

Abuse can have a negative impact on development in several ways.


may be the primary mediator of psychopathology when these abnormal experiences directly alter developing neural systems; for example, trauma may cause post-traumatic stress disorder or neglect an attachment disorder. In addition, trauma or neglect may play an exacerbating or expressing role for neuropsychiatric syndromes in individuals with genetic vulnerabilities (e.g., major depression and schizophrenia). And finally, symptoms and problems caused by maltreatment can be disrupting factors for subsequent developmental opportunities (e.g., the disrupting impact of hypervigilance on academic experiences or of neglect-related attachment problems on social development). Often these secondary and tertiary effects are as devastating as the primary abuse-related pathology. In order to better understand the potential mechanisms by which abuse can cause psychopathology it is crucial to consider the core processes and principles of neurodevelopment


Note - an interesting discussion of neurodevelopment follows the excerpt above.

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