Residual Effects of Early Life Stress into Adulthood: Biological Mechanisms

Matthew Hill, PhD

June 2011

Dr. Matthew Hill, from the University of Calgary, examines stress’s many shapes and flavours. Some forms of stress are good and help us grow by providing us with an opportunity to overcome a challenge, and others can be detrimental and weigh us down with anxiety and worry. Development is a very plastic and vulnerable period during which the biological development of the stress systems is ongoing and sensitive to disruption. This presentation focuses on how early life adversity can modulate the development of the stress systems to create a heightened state of stress perception in adulthood that increases vulnerability to mental illnesses, such as depression, as well as an array of inflammatory and metabolic conditions.

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