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Medical News and Perspectives
April 26, 2006

Effects of Stress on Children Examined

JAMA. 2006;295(16):1888. doi:10.1001/jama.295.16.1888

Alexandria, Va—While one small wave does not wash away a shore, the constant lapping of water can erode an entire coastline. So, too, can stress take an erosive toll: While a single stressful event often has little lasting effect on the body, prolonged stress can be deleterious to brain function, hormone production, immune responses, and other processes (McEwen BS. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2005;30:315-318).

“The question for stress researchers is how does something outside of the body gets inside of you through psychological and then underlying neurobiological processes,” said Bruce Compas, PhD, of Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tenn. At the recent Resilience in Children conference hosted here, Compas discussed research aimed at understanding the effects of stress on the brain, with the hope of blocking stress's negative consequences.

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