• Lindsay P. South

DNA responses to childhood trauma offer clues on which children will have long-term health issues as

The biomarkers could help predict which children are most at risk of trauma-related health issues as an adult, long-term study finds.

New research from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Pharmacy brings the medical community closer to identifying children with the highest need for treatment and intervention following traumatic events.

The study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, found that epigenetic traces of childhood trauma could be used as biomarkers to predict the risk of depression, nicotine dependence, alcohol use disorder and other health issues in people nearly 17 years later.


“If two children are exposed to the same traumatic event, one may experience much more severe consequences than the other as an adult,” said Ph.D., professor and director of the at the VCU School of Pharmacy, who was the lead author of the study. “Our biology can sometimes respond to trauma, and by looking at DNA responses associated with trauma, we’ve developed a novel tool for predicting long-term health risks.”



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