Cumulative Childhood Stress and Autoimmune Diseases in Adults

This “80% cut off” may be considered arbitrary, we considered such persons to have inadequate continuity of follow-up to merit consideration for inclusion in the prospective analysis

Shanta R. Dube; DeLisa Fairweather; William S. Pearson; Vincent J. Felitti; Robert F. Anda; Janet B. Croft


Scholarcy highlights

  • Autoimmune diseases are a heterogeneous group of 70 to 80 different inflammatory disorders affecting approximately 3% to 8% of the population in the United States
  • Compared with persons with no Adverse Childhood Experiences, persons with ≥2 ACEs were at a 70% increased risk for hospitalizations with T- helper 1, 80% increased risk for T-helper 2, and 100% increased risk for rheumatic diseases
  • Childhood traumatic stress increased the likelihood of hospitalization with a diagnosed autoimmune disease decades into adulthood
  • These findings are consistent with recent biological studies on the impact of early life stress on subsequent inflammatory responses
  • Because of the expected sex differences in the prevalence of certain ADs, we examined the age-specific relationship between sex and any AD and found that, for persons aged 19 to 64 years, women were 50% more likely than men to be hospitalized with an AD; among persons ≥65 years, women were less likely than men to have a first hospitalization with AD
  • A recent epidemiologic study confirmed the link between childhood abuse and long-term changes in immune response ; in this longitudinal study, childhood abuse was associated with elevated C-reactive protein levels, white blood cell counts, and other markers of inflammation 20 years later

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