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November 8, 2000

Long-term Neuroendocrine Effects of Childhood Maltreatment

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Executive Deputy EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;284(18):2321. doi:10.1001/jama.284.18.2317

To the Editor: Dr Heim and colleagues1 found that childhood abuse was associated with changes in hormonal and neurological responses in adult women; however, it is regrettable that they chose to exclude men from this important study. According to the latest results from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, boys experience 48.5% of all incidents of childhood abuse.2 Compared with girls, boys are more likely to suffer from physical abuse, general neglect, and medical neglect. There is also evidence that sexual abuse of boys is underrecognized, underreported, and undertreated.3 Most troubling is the fact that the incidence of fatalities from maltreatment is 3 times higher for boys than for girls.4 There is no sound basis for omitting persons from this research solely on the basis of their sex.

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