A new study, published Wednesday in the journal American Academy of Neurology, has found that adults with neurologic conditions were more likely to have had adverse childhood experiences such as abuse, neglect, or household dysfunction, according to Medical Xpress.
However, the study does not prove that neurologic conditions are caused by such traumatic experiences in childhood. It merely shows a link between the two.
Study author Dr. Adys Mendizabal of the University of California Los Angeles said, “Traumatic events in childhood have been linked in previous studies to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, riskier health behaviors like smoking and drug use, and decreased life expectancy.”
“They have also been linked to a higher risk of headaches, but for many other neurologic conditions, little is known. Our study found that people with neurologic conditions like stroke, headache, and epilepsy were more likely to have experienced abuse, neglect, or household dysfunction as children when compared to the U.S. population,” added Dr. Mendizabal, who is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
The study assessed 198 people at a neurology clinic, who completed a questionnaire about traumatic experiences in childhood. They were also screened for the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Dr. Mendizabal said the study findings suggest that people who have had adverse childhood experiences may have more neurologic symptoms, disability, or greater medical needs, according to Medical Xpress.
The participants who experienced traumatic events in childhood were also more likely to have depression and anxiety.
Dr. Mendizabal explained, “Early recognition of these high adverse childhood experiences in people with neurologic conditions may be a way to improve their health. Appropriate referral to social work and behavioral health resources may provide people with support that may reduce their need for health care and improve their neurologic health.”