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The intergerational impact of maternal exposure to childhood adversities on child cerebral development: regulation and functioning of the hpa axis as a resilience marker

Grant number: 21/04819-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2021
Effective date (End): May 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Medicine - Psychiatry
Acordo de Cooperação: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Principal Investigator:Andrea Parolin Jackowski
Grantee:Aline Camargo Ramos
Host Institution: Escola Paulista de Medicina (EPM). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:19/21612-0 - Maternal adversity, inflammation, and neurodevelopment: how intergenerational processes perpetuate disadvantage in a low-resource setting, AP.TEM


An extensive literature has observed that impairments in neurodevelopment may be associated with adverse childhood experiences (ACE) and that this would influence susceptibility to psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety disorders, depression, suicide risk and substance abuse during adulthood. There is, therefore, a well-established correlation between adversity in early life and increased risk for the development of psychopathology, and this seems to prevail throughout life. Although childhood trauma increases the risk of developing mental disorders throughout life, not all individuals exposed to early traumatic events will experience symptoms or develop some type of mental disorder. These individuals are considered resilient. From a neurobiological point of view, resilience is the result of adaptive brain responses associated with favorable outcomes despite exposure to adversity. In this project, we will evaluate 150 pregnant women, users of the Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS) with a history of childhood trauma paired with 150 pregnant women without a history of childhood trauma. There will be a follow-up of the offspring for 2 years focused on the neurodevelopment of cognitive control, a marker for future development of impulsive behaviors, associated with the analysis of the functioning and control of the HPA axis through the analysis of salivary cortisol levels.

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