Childhood trauma has lasting effect on brain connectivity in patients with depression

A study led by Penn Medicine researchers found that childhood trauma is linked to abnormal connectivity in the brain in adults with major depressive disorder (MDD). The paper, published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first data-driven study to show symptom-specific, system-level changes in brain network connectivity in MDD.

therapist writing on clipboard while client sits on couch with hand to their forehead

“With estimates of approximately 10 percent of all children in the United States having been subjected to child abuse, the significance of child maltreatment on brain development and function is an important consideration,” says Yvette I. Sheline, McLure professor of psychiatry, radiology, and neurology, and director of the Center for Neuromodulation in Depression and Stress in the Perelman School of Medicine.

“This study not only confirms the important relationship between childhood trauma and major depression, but also links patients’ experiences of childhood trauma with specific functional brain network abnormalities. This suggests a possible environmental contributor to neurobiological symptoms.”

Read more at Penn Medicine News.