Preliminary evidence for aberrant cortical development in abused children: a quantitative EEG study.
ABSTRACT The objectives of this study were to investigate cortical development and hemispheric asymmetry in abused children. Fifteen hospitalized children (mean age 10.7 +/- 2.5 years) with severe physical or sexual abuse and 15 normal children (10.1 +/- 3.1 years) were studied with quantitative EEG. Abused children had higher levels of left hemisphere coherence and a reversed asymmetry, with left hemisphere coherence significantly exceeding right hemisphere coherence. Left hemisphere coherence decreased more rapidly across electrode distance in normal subjects, suggesting that increased left coherence in abused patients stemmed from a deficit in left cortical differentiation. These findings support the hypothesis that early severe abuse may have a deleterious effect on brain development.
SourceAvailable from: Diego Cohen
Article: The neurophysiology of empathy[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Darwin (1872) contended that emotions are primary regulators of social inter-action and that interspecies communication of emotion is innate and has adaptive value. Within this framework, empathy, which involves recognizing emotions and adjusting social interactions accordingly, would provide individuals and groups who possess this ability with an evolutionary advantage. Several contemporary theoretical papers have also emerged in the psychological literature that discuss the evolution of empathy and its neural substrates. For example, Brothers (1989) introduced an evolutionary theory of empathy, defining the concept of empathy across maturational levels. He and others (Hoffman, 2000; Trevarthen & Aitken, 1994) argue that empathy is an innate biologically based process in more evolved species. Empathy's evolution in phylogeny and ontogeny is based on the need for more evolved species to be able to communicate with important others, such as caretakers and attachment figures. While the theoretical models proposed differ in the exact mechanism impelling the development of empathy, they agree that variation between individuals in levels of empathic processing derives from evolved variation in genetic endowments and is modified by environmental experiences. Ultimately these theories recognize that empathy, a key component of social communication during development, is adaptive, promotes survival and has a neurological basis. 13.1.2 Somatic theories of empathy The somatic theories have their origins in the writings of William James (1884) and Walter Cannon (1927), with James arguing that emotions were intertwined with bodily sensations and Cannon focusing on the brain's role in emotion.
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ABSTRACT: Child sexual abuse predominantly affects brain structures. Children cognitive functioning is associated with caregivers' attachment based experiences and attachment is often formed on the basis of interpersonal protection model. Till date few studies demonstrated the efficacy of interpersonal protection model in the recovery of cognitive deficits in sexual abuse case. The purpose of the study was to examine the improvement in cognitive functions of a victim of sexual abuse by employing therapeutic strategies of interpersonal protection model. Individual case study followed by assessment of neuropsychological deficit of a 10-year old girl was conducted; who was referred for neuropsychological assessment and psychological management. She had completed the assessment by taking frequent gaps. Total 10 therapeutic sessions were rendered to the child and mother. Post therapy assessment revealed substantial improvement in the frontal lobe functions of verbal working memory and set shifting component of executive function. Further this technique may assist clinicians and researchers in managing such cases of abuse.