The following is part of an abstract from Pediatrics 2013 entitled “The Science of Early Life Toxic Stress for Pediatric Practice and Advocacy”
Young children who experience toxic stress are at high risk for a number of health outcomes in adulthood, including cardiovascular disease, cancers, asthma, and depression. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently called on pediatricians, informed by research from molecular biology, genomics, immunology, and neuroscience, to become leaders in science-based strategies to build strong foundations for children’s life-long health…… The fact that early environments shape and calibrate the functioning of biological systems very early in life is both a cautionary tale about overlooking critical periods in development and reason for optimism about the promise of intervention. Even in the most extreme cases of adversity, well-timed changes to children’s environments can improve outcomes. Pediatricians are in a unique position to contribute to the public discourse on health and social welfare by explaining how factors that seem distal to child health may be the key to some of the most intractable public health problems of our generation….
Prevention is critical…..but so is early recognition and intervention in toxic stress experienced by children. This is where we need to spend our time and energy….prevention and early intervention! Let’s do this!