About this Research Topic
Adversity during early life, including physical and emotional neglect and distressing experiences, can induce persistent effects on physical and mental health. It is now well established that adversity in childhood, or during gestation, increases the risk for development of conduct disorders, personality disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, major depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, addictive disorders, among many others. The clinical importance of these findings can be greatly appreciated given that many adults who experienced abuse or neglect in early life are predicted to suffer at least one episode of a psychiatric or behavioral disorder in adulthood.
Throughout the years a great deal of attention has been given to this issue and many animal models of early life adversity/stress have been developed, which allowed a better understanding of the effects of early life adversity on the functional, structural and behavioral changes featured in the offspring. In parallel, human studies using large cohorts of individuals exposed to early life distress and comprehensive longitudinal studies allowed a better understanding on how prenatal/perinatal adverse environments affect the programming of developmental trajectories in offspring and the risks for later morbidity.
In the past years, although many structural and functional changes have been reported to occur, the full map of the deleterious mechanisms that early life adversity has on the developing brain, how it re-programs many neural circuits and how it leads to behavioral dysfunction is still far from being fully understood.
Given this, in this Research Topic we will welcome Original Research, Reviews or Opinion articles regarding research in both humans and animal models that contribute to better understand how early life adversity impacts on mental illness.
This Research Topic is open to submission of articles addressing the following themes:
• Neural circuit re-programing caused by early life adversity;
• Long-lasting changes imprinted in the brain by early life adversity that generate maladaptive behavior;
• Impact of early life adversity in immune cells of the brain and its contribution for the development of impaired behavior and psychiatric disorders;
• Sex-specific differences of early life adversity;
• Neural and peripheral correlates of early life adversity and impact on individual psychiatric states;
• Impact of early life adversity on the development of the gut-brain axis and child development;
• Linking maternal prenatal stress with infant physiological and neurological measurements;
• Involvement of early life adversity on the emergence of social/emotional deficits.
Keywords: early life stress, early life adversity, prenatal stress, psychiatry, impaired behavior, human, animal models, neural circuits
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.