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Child Welfare | TEDMED 2014: Nadine Burke Harris


Nadine Burke's TEDMED talk addressing how trauma and stress are associated an increased incidence of physical mental and emotional disorders by disrupting neurodevelopment.


Nadine Burke Harris reveals a little-understood, yet universal factor in childhood that can profoundly impact adult-onset disease.

It has been established that childhood trauma can be correlated with physiological, mental disorders and the increased incidence of drug addiction and alcoholism.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse states "neurodevelopment can be disrupted. Disruption in early development of the nervous system may impede a child’s ability to cope with negative or disruptive emotions and contribute to emotional and cognitive impairment. Over time, and often during adolescence, the child adopts coping mechanisms, such as substance use. Eventually, this contributes to disease, disability and social problems, as well as premature mortality."

A study at Harvard reported that increased cortisol production as a reaction to stress and trauma reduces the size of the hippocamus (a limbic system structure that is particularly important in forming new memories and connecting emotions and senses, such as smell and sound, to memories) and causes deregulation of Dopamine which is associated with mental disorders and addiction.   Learn more about the types of Childhood Adverse Experiences and Risk Factors associated with later life mental health, physical health and alcoholism and drug addiction.