As an adult, what would be your primary concern if you suspected that your early life had something to do with current problems? Would you be interested in effective treatments for causes of your symptoms?
Such information wasn’t available in this 2016 Miami review of the effects of child abuse. The review laid out the current paradigm mentioned in Grokking an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) score, one that limits research into pre-childhood causes for later-life symptoms.
The review’s goal was to describe:
“How numerous clinical and basic studies have contributed to establish the now widely accepted idea that adverse early life experiences can elicit profound effects on the development and function of the nervous system.”
The hidden assumption of almost all of the cited references was that these distant causes could no longer be addressed. But aren’t such assumptions testable today?
As an example, the Discussion section posed the top nine “most pressing unanswered questions related to the neurobiological effects of early life trauma.” In line with the current paradigm, the reviewer assigned “Are the biological consequences of ELS [early life stress] reversible?” into the sixth position.
If the current paradigm encouraged research into treatment of causes, there would probably already be plenty of evidence to demonstrate that directly reducing the source of damage would also reverse damaging effects. There would have been enough studies done so that the generalized question of reversibility wouldn’t be asked.
Aren’t people interested in treatments of originating causes so that their various symptoms don’t keep bubbling up? Why wouldn’t research paradigms be aligned accordingly?
The review also demonstrated how the current paradigm of child abuse misrepresented items like telomere length and oxytocin. Researchers on the bandwagon tend to forget about the principle Einstein expressed as:
“No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”
That single experiment for telomere length arrived in 2016 with Using an epigenetic clock to distinguish cellular aging from senescence. The review’s seven citations for telomere length that all had “is associated with” or “is linked to” child abuse findings should now be viewed in a different light.
The same light shone on oxytocin with Testing the null hypothesis of oxytocin’s effects in humans and Oxytocin research null findings come out of the file drawer. See their references, and decide for yourself whether or not:
“Claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.”
http://www.cell.com/neuron/fulltext/S0896-6273%2816%2900020-9 “Paradise Lost: The Neurobiological and Clinical Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect”
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