Long- term health could be linked to childhood experiences

4 years 3 weeks 6 days ago Thursday, November 13 2014 Nov 13, 2014 Thursday, November 13, 2014 2:20:00 PM CST November 13, 2014 in News
By: Amanda LaBrot, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - A discussion in Columbia today focused on role childhood environment plays in lifelong health. 

Kristy vanMarle, assistant professor of psychology, organized MU's Distinguished Lecture Series in Psychology with Avshalom Caspi held Thursday. According to the department, Caspi's current work centers on three big questions: (1) How do childhood experiences shape the course of health inequalities across the life span? (2) How do genetic differences between people shape the way they respond to their environments? (3) What are the best ways to assess and measure personality differences between people?

"He's really interested in trying to figure out what early childhood experiences can help express different traits, and how that turns out for people's health later on in life." vanMarle said. 

Caspi has done longitudinal studies, or studies looking at the same people, for as long as 20 years, which vanMarle says gives real merit to ideas like exposure to stress and violence in childhood do have long term effects on well-being.

"It gives us incredible insight into how early experiences really effect us long term," vanMarle said. "You know, things that might happen in early childhood might not show up in our health until middle age or older adulthood, and knowing those things can have serious impact and implications for how we structure society and the health care system." " 

Caspi studies interaction between genes and environment, called behavioral genetics. Rather than looking at just genetics or just environment when looking at child and adult health, he looks at the impact environment has on the expression of genes.

"You can look at individuals, twins for example, who share either all of their genes in identical twins or some of their genes in fraternal twins, but they share the same environment," vanMarle said. "And then if a trait varies, from fraternal twins but not identical twins, you can then infer that genetics has something do with the expression of that trait."

Capsi is trained in many different areas of psychology, which vanMarle says gives him a broad perspective when addressing problems. 

"He's done a lot of working looking at the development or presentation of psycho-pathologies," vanMarle said. "So depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and what kind of early life experiences are related to the development of those later in life." 

VanMarle said he's looked at those issues from both a negative and protective standpoint to try prevent these mental health diseases.

"A lot of the work he's doing right now is looking at what kinds of health behaviors and environments can positively affect individuals that might be at risk for developing those negative outcomes, but then protecting them later on," vanMarle said.

VanMarle said Caspi's research gives a basic understanding of what kinds of environments might be good or bad, and this can help parents and teachers promote exposure to positive and limit exposure to the negative.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri's Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft on Monday asked the Democratic auditor... More >>
11 minutes ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 4:22:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri's Dr. George Smith was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Monday afternoon in... More >>
43 minutes ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:50:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A Boone County circuit judge sentenced Miles Leighton Hillegas to seven years in prison Monday for an April... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:15:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Christian Fellowship School is mourning the loss of student Bryce Hill, who was killed in a crash Saturday... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:14:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - MU assistant professor Pamela Brown said Dr. George P. Smith deserves the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for more... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:06:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Charges have been filed in the fatal shooting of 19-year old Nilez Nichols in Jefferson City. Prosecutors... More >>
2 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 2:20:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The holiday period is a busy time for scams targeting shoppers, according to Michelle Gleba, Regional Director for... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 1:04:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A massive tuba ensemble has smashed a Guinness World Record in Kansas City and spread... More >>
4 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 12:07:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN- University of Missouri Professor Emeritus George Smith officially accepted his portion of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry Monday.... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 11:18:00 AM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA — Police arrested Missouri defensive end Tre Williams early Sunday following a reported domestic incident. According to the... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 10:39:00 AM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Those struggling to afford holiday gifts for their loved ones may still have options. Registration ends today for... More >>
13 hours ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:27:53 AM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia firefighters responded to a fire at Columbia Crossing Apartments on Towne Drive late Sunday night. Division... More >>
17 hours ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 11:30:00 PM CST December 09, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Treacherous driving conditions and canceled flights could keep residents stuck at home for days as a nasty mix... More >>
22 hours ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 6:25:00 PM CST December 09, 2018 in News
OSAGE BEACH – A dog groomer in Osage Beach has made it a mission to train service dogs after she... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 2:08:00 PM CST December 09, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — University of Missouri faculty members are raising concerns that the system's move to offer buyouts to... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 11:47:00 AM CST December 09, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Officers with the Columbia Police Department responded to a shots fired call inside the Steak ‘n Shake on... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 10:38:00 AM CST December 09, 2018 in News
JAMESTOWN - Grace United Methodist Church held its seasonal music recital on Sunday featuring a 117-year-old historic church organ. ... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 9:58:00 AM CST December 09, 2018 in News
FULTON - Fulton police officers responded to the Fulton Medical Center regarding a possible assault early Sunday morning. According... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 9:00:00 AM CST December 09, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 39°
5pm 33°
6pm 32°
7pm 30°
8pm 30°