Early Experience, Stress Neurobiology, and Prevention Science

Based on Research Conducted at OSLC

A grant that funded a network of scientists studying the effects of stressful early environments on the developing brain and interventions that can remediate these effects.

Project Overview

This grant supported a network of researchers interested in the effects of stressful early environments on the developing brain, and on the extent to which interventions can remediate these effects. The grant brought together scientists studying these issues in animals as well as humans. The specific neural systems under investigation included the limbic-HPA axis, components of the prefrontal cortex involved in executive functioning, and elements of the threat appraisal-response system. Network studies involving children examined how these systems are impacted by different types of early stress, including neglect and other forms of maltreatment, as well as institutional rearing (among children adopted from overseas orphanages). In addition, the network investigated whether improved behavioral functioning that is observed in connection with therapeutic interventions is concordant with changes in these neural systems. The grant was based at the University of Minnesota, and OSLC was a site focusing primarily on maltreated children in foster care.

Year Project Began: 2009
Funder: National Institute of Mental Health