Upcoming Webinars

Click here to view recordings of previous webinars

Measurement Webinar - "Introduction to a Comprehensive Life Course Monitoring System" featuring Martin Guhn, PhD and Magdalena Janus, PhD. January 23, 2019, 1:30-3PM PST. REGISTER HERE.

Measurement Webinar - "EDI in US Cities" featuring Neal Halfon, MD, MPH and Lisa Stanley, DrPH. February 12, 2019, 1-2:30PM PST. REGISTER HERE.

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LCRN is actively seeking additional funding to develop new and innovative transdisciplinary research and activities. If you would like to contribute, please contact Ericka Tullis, Project Manager, at ETullis@mednet.ucla.edu.

The Biological Embedding of Child Abuse, and Implications for Policy and Practice: CFP Webinar

By Seth Pollak and Sara Jaffee for the University-Based Child and Family Policy (CFP) Consortium in collaboration with the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD)

This webinar was hosted by the University-Based Child and Family Policy (CFP) Consortium, which is run in collaboration with the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD). Drs. Cheryl Boyce and Valerie Maholmes from the National Institutes of Health moderated the webinar. Drs. Seth Pollak (University of Wisconsin – Madison) and Sara Jaffee (University of Pennsylvania) served as presenters. Dr. Caitlin McPherran Lombardi (Boston College) organized the webinar. The webinar was held on December 2, 2014.   The presentation by Dr. Pollak drew on his research, including findings from a study recently published in Child Development on “Associations Between Early Life Stress and Gene Methylation in Children” (Click HERE to …

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Fetal programming of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases: the role of epigenetic factors

By Monica Piras, Vassilios Fanos, Alberto Ravarino, Maria Antonietta Marcialis, Laura Vinci, Maria Cristina Pintus and Gavino Faa

In this paper, the main epigenetic factors involved in shaping the brain’s physical structure during development will be reviewed, with special emphasis on those related to Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease in adulthood. These factors are: preterm delivery, maternal diet, trace metals, intrauterine infection, maternal stress, drugs, alcohol. Epigenetics may allow a novel therapeutic and preventive approach for neurodegeneration.   Read full article  

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The Biological Embedding of Child Abuse and Neglect: Implications for Policy and Practice

By Sara Jaffee and Cindy Christian

Each year within the US alone over 770,000 children are victimized by abuse and neglect (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2010), and this figure is likely to underestimate the extent of the problem. Researchers have long recognized that maltreatment has adverse effects on children’s mental health and academic achievement. Studies of adults show that adverse childhood experiences like maltreatment increase risk for chronic diseases of aging, including Type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. What the field does not fully understand is why maltreatment has such pervasive effects. Studies on the neuroscience of maltreatment have begun to offer some clues. Victims of maltreatment differ from non-victims with respect to …

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Neural Plasticity in Fathers of Human Infants

By Pilyoung Kim, Paola Rigo, Linda C. Mayes, Ruth Feldman, James F. Leckman and James E. Swain

Fathering plays an important role in infants’ socioemotional and cognitive development. Previous studies have identified brain regions that are important for parenting behavior in human mothers. However, the neural basis of parenting in human fathers is largely unexplored. In the current longitudinal study, we investigated structural changes in fathers’ brains during the first four months postpartum using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis. Biological fathers (n=16) with full-term, healthy infants were scanned at 2–4 weeks postpartum (Time 1) and at 12–16 weeks postpartum (Time 2). Fathers exhibited increases in gray matter volume in several neural regions involved in parental motivation, including the hypothalamus, amygdala and striatum and lateral prefrontal cortex. On the …

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Early Developmental Conditioning of Later Health and Disease: Physiology or Pathophysiology?

By M. A. Hanson and P. D. Gluckman

Extensive experimental animal studies and epidemiological observations have shown that environmental influences during early development affect the risk of later pathophysiological processes associated with chronic, especially noncommunicable, disease (NCD). This field is recognized as the developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD). We discuss the extent to which DOHaD represents the result of the physiological processes of developmental plasticity, which may have potential adverse consequences in terms of NCD risk later, or whether it is the manifestation of pathophysiological processes acting in early life but only becoming apparent as disease later. We argue that the evidence suggests the former, through the operation of conditioning processes induced across the normal range …

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Associations Between Early Life Stress and Gene Methylation in Children

By Sarah E. Romens, Jennifer McDonald, John Svaren and Seth D. Pollak

Children exposed to extreme stress are at heightened risk for developing mental and physical disorders. However, little is known about mechanisms underlying these associations in humans. An emerging insight is that children’s social environments change gene expression, which contributes to biological vulnerabilities for behavioral problems. Epigenetic changes in the glucocorticoid receptor gene, a critical component of stress regulation, were examined in whole blood from 56 children aged 11–14 years. Children exposed to physical maltreatment had greater methylation within exon 1F in the NR3C1 promoter region of the gene compared to nonmaltreated children, including the putative NGFI-A (nerve growth factor) binding site. These results highlight molecular mechanisms linking childhood stress with …

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Youth Vulnerabilities in Life Course Transitions

By Abby Hardgrove, Kirrily Pells, Jo Boyden and Paul Dornan

This paper examines youth vulnerabilities, with a particular emphasis on low- and middle-income countries. It touches on the challenges confronted by young people exposed to extreme, life-threatening circumstances, such as political violence and armed conflict, but focuses on vulnerabilities that emerge in key transitions experienced by most young people, such as those linked to school, work, partnership and parenthood. Such vulnerabilities not only hold young people back, but also are a barrier to capitalising on the demographic dividend. The paper employs a life-course perspective, highlighting the relationship between early influences and later outcomes, and examining individual life trajectories within a societal context. It draws on a range of secondary sources, …

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Social disadvantage, genetic sensitivity, and children’s telomere length

By Colter Mitchella, John Hobcraftb, Sara S. McLanahanc, Susan Rutherford Siegeld, Arthur Bergd, Jeanne Brooks-Gunne, Irwin Garfinkelf, and Daniel Nottermand

Disadvantaged social environments are associated with adverse health outcomes. This has been attributed, in part, to chronic stress. Telomere length (TL) has been used as a biomarker of chronic stress: TL is shorter in adults in a variety of contexts, including disadvantaged social standing and depression. We use data from 40, 9-y-old boys participating in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to extend this observation to African American children. We report that exposure to disadvantaged environments is associated with reduced TL by age 9 y. We document significant associations between low income, low maternal education, unstable family structure, and harsh parenting and TL. These effects were moderated by genetic …

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CIFAR Symposium 2014: From Cell to Society

By Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

On February 6, 2014, CIFAR hosted a symposium which brought together the extended CIFAR community to continue the work that Clyde Hertzman began.   From Cell to Society explored the archeology of biological embedding – the layers and interconnections of development affected by experience – and pointed to ways in which the science can inform policies and interventions to give all children a better chance.   Clyde Hertzman was a long-serving senior fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Over the course of 25 years, he contributed to four CIFAR programs and was a driving force behind two programs – Successful Societies and Child & Brain Development – at …

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Life course perspective: evidence for the role of nutrition

By Dena R. Herman, Marion Taylor Baer, Elizabeth Adams, Leslie Cunningham-Sabo, Nelida Duran, Donna B. Johnson, Elizabeth Yakes

The “Life Course Perspective” proposes that environmental exposures, including biological, physical, social, and behavioral factors, as well as life experiences, throughout the entire life span, influence health outcomes in current and future generations. Nutrition, from preconception to adulthood, encompasses all of these factors and has the potential to positively or negatively shape the individual or population health trajectories and their intergenerational differences. This paper applies the T2E2 model (timing, timeline, equity and environment), developed by Fine and Kotelchuck, as an overlay to examine advances in nutritional science, as well as the complex associations between life stages, nutrients, nutrigenomics, and access to healthy foods, that support the life course perspective. Examples …

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