Wednesday, October 17, 2012

[EQ] Toward a new biology of social adversity

October 16, 2012; 109 (Supplement 2)
Biological Embedding of Early Social Adversity: From Fruit Flies to Kindergartners

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Toward a new biology of social adversity

W. Thomas Boyce a,b,1, Marla B. Sokolowski b,c, and Gene E. Robinson d


A School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada;

B Experience-Based Brain and Biological Development Program, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Toronto, Canada

C Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; and

D Institute for Genomic Biology, Department of Entomology, Neuroscience Program, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, IL

Available online at:


“……Ernest Hemingway wrote in A Farewell to Arms that “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places1With the advent of industrialization, the forcible employment of children, and the 19th century child labor laws that followed, a broad recognition emerged that even childhood (or perhaps especially childhood) can be “broken” by the adversities of life in a harshly exploitative society (2).


The early 20th century ethnographic work of James Agee and Walker Evans (3) depicted the privations and afflictions of poor children reared in impoverished settings, and the psychiatrist Robert Coles (4) documented the extraordinary hardships faced by young, black children during the Civil Rights Movement in the American South. The work of Yehuda et al. (5) and others (6, 7) illuminated the systematic vulnerabilities sustained by children of the Holocaust and famine survivors, and research by Evans and Schamberg (8), Shonkoff and Phillips (9), Hackman and Farah (10), Neville and colleagues (11), Lupien et al. (12), and Felitti et al. (13) has systematically documented the neurodevelopmental and health consequences of rearing in conditions of poverty and adversity


Most recently, studies by Rutter (14), Gunnar and colleagues (15), Smyke et al. (16) and Nelson et al. (17) have described the socioemotional and cognitive deficits sustained by children growing up in orphanages and other institutional settings with nonparental care. Hertzman and Boyce (18) and Hertzman and coworkers (19) have geographically mapped such deficits, linking developmental vulnerabilities at primary school entry to the unique geosocietal circumstances of individual communities. …

These observations, spanning a century and a half of historical time, have convincingly depicted the disordered development and fragile health incurred by children with exposures to deprivation, distress, and early life difficulties. Nonetheless, and against the odds, not all children are adversely affected by such struggles …


The present harvest of findings, gathered together for this PNAS issue, reflect a maturing and productive field, well-populated with promising discovery and unique insight….”



Biological Embedding of Early Social Adversity:
From Fruit Flies to Kindergartners Sackler Colloquium

Achievements and challenges in the biology of environmental effects

Michael Rutter

Rigor, vigor, and the study of health disparities

Nancy Adler, Nicole R. Bush, and Matthew S. Pantell

Putting the concept of biological embedding in historical perspective

Clyde Hertzman

Social stratification, classroom climate, and the behavioral adaptation of kindergarten children

W. Thomas Boyce, Jelena Obradović, Nicole R. Bush, Juliet Stamperdahl, Young Shin Kim, and Nancy Adler

Social structures depend on innate determinants and chemosensory processing in Drosophila

Jonathan Schneider, Michael H. Dickinson, and Joel D. Levine

Brain on stress: How the social environment gets under the skin

Bruce S. McEwen

Experience and the developing prefrontal cortex

Bryan Kolb, Richelle Mychasiuk, Arif Muhammad, Yilin Li, Douglas O. Frost, and Robbin Gibb

Social information changes the brain

Russell D. Fernald and Karen P. Maruska

Variations in postnatal maternal care and the epigenetic regulation of
metabotropic glutamate receptor 1 expression and hippocampal function in the rat

Rosemary C. Bagot, Tie-Yuan Zhang, Xianglan Wen, Thi Thu Thao Nguyen, Huy-Binh Nguyen, Josie Diorio, Tak Pan Wong, and Michael J. Meaney

Associations between early life adversity and executive function in children adopted internationally from orphanages

Camelia E. Hostinar, Sarah A. Stellern, Catherine Schaefer, Stephanie M. Carlson, and Megan R. Gunnar

Critical period for acoustic preference in mice

Eun-Jin Yang, Eric W. Lin, and Takao K. Hensch

Prenatal exposure to antidepressants and depressed maternal mood alter trajectory of infant speech perception

Whitney M. Weikum, Tim F. Oberlander, Takao K. Hensch, and Janet F. Werker

Effects of early intervention and the moderating effects of brain activity on institutionalized children's social skills at age 8

Alisa N. Almas, Kathryn A. Degnan, Anca Radulescu, Charles A. Nelson III, Charles H. Zeanah, and Nathan A. Fox

Paternal social enrichment effects on maternal behavior and offspring growth

Rahia Mashoodh, Becca Franks, James P. Curley, and Frances A. Champagne

Gene–environment interplay in Drosophila melanogaster: Chronic food deprivation in early life affects adult exploratory and fitness traits

James Geoffrey Burns, Nicolas Svetec, Locke Rowe, Frederic Mery, Michael J. Dolan, W. Thomas Boyce, and Marla B. Sokolowski

Impact of experience-dependent and -independent factors on gene expression in songbird brain

Jenny Drnevich, Kirstin L. Replogle, Peter Lovell, Thomas P. Hahn, Frank Johnson, Thomas G. Mast, Ernest Nordeen, Kathy Nordeen, Christy Strand, Sarah E. London, Motoko Mukai, John C. Wingfield, Arthur P. Arnold, Gregory F. Ball, Eliot A. Brenowitz, Juli Wade, Claudio V. Mello, and David F. Clayton

Factors underlying variable DNA methylation in a human community cohort

Lucia L. Lam, Eldon Emberly, Hunter B. Fraser, Sarah M. Neumann, Edith Chen, Gregory E. Miller, and Michael S. Kobor

Genetic and environmental vulnerabilities in children with neurodevelopmental disorders

Annette Karmiloff-Smith, Dean D’Souza, Tessa M. Dekker, Jo Van Herwegen, Fei Xu, Maja Rodic, and Daniel Ansari

Conserved epigenetic sensitivity to early life experience in the rat and human hippocampus

Matthew Suderman, Patrick O. McGowan, Aya Sasaki, Tony C. T. Huang, Michael T. Hallett, Michael J. Meaney, Gustavo Turecki, and Moshe Szyf

Socioeconomic gradients in child development in very young children: Evidence from India, Indonesia, Peru, and Senegal
            Lia C. H. Fernald, Patricia Kariger, Melissa Hidrobo, and Paul J. Gertler

Early environments and the ecology of inflammation

Thomas W. McDade

Early childhood poverty, immune-mediated disease processes, and adult productivity

Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest, Greg J. Duncan, Ariel Kalil, and W. Thomas Boyce

Preventing abusive head trauma resulting from a failure of normal interaction between infants and their caregivers

Ronald G. Barr

Leveraging the biology of adversity to address the roots of disparities in health and development

Jack P. Shonkoff


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1 comment:

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