Severe Childhood Abuse May Alter Myelin Sheaths in the Brain

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Victims of abuse during childhood are statistically more vulnerable to stress-related psychiatric conditions across their lifespan. This uptick in mental health problems among children who are abused may be linked to molecular and cellular changes in how the brain is structured and wired. 

Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in yellow.

Source: Geoff B. Hall/Wikipedia Commons

Researchers at McGill University in Canada have identified that severe child abuse may trigger a chain reaction that alters the architecture and functional connectivity of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). This brain region is associated with mood and emotion regulation. In May 2018, a neuroimaging study from China reported that the ACC also plays a pivotal role in the brain mechanics of gratitude and an intermediary role in converting gratitude into altruistic reciprocity.

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