The effects of severe psychosocial deprivation and foster care intervention on cognitive development at 8 years of age: findings from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project
ABSTRACT Previous reports from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project suggested that children removed from institutions and placed into intervention displayed gains in IQ relative to children randomized to remain in institutional care.
The current report presents data from the 8-year follow-up of these children. One hundred and three of the original 136 children in the study were tested with the WISC IV.
Results reveal continued benefit from the intervention even though many of the children in both the intervention and control groups were no longer residing in their initial placements. Gains in IQ were particularly evident for those children who remained with their intervention family. There were also modest timing effects such that children placed earlier displayed higher scores on the WISC processing speed subscale. Early placement was also a significant predictor of a profile of stable, typical IQ scores over time.
These data suggest the continued importance of early intervention and the negative effects of severe psychosocial deprivation on the development of IQ scores across early childhood.
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ABSTRACT: An individual’s neurodevelopmental and cognitive sequelae to negative early experiences may, in part, be explained by genetic susceptibility. We examined whether extreme differences in the early caregiving environment, defined as exposure to severe psychosocial deprivation associated with institutional care compared to normative rearing, interacted with a biologically informed genoset comprising BDNF (rs6265), COMT (rs4680), and SIRT1 (rs3758391) to predict distinct outcomes of neurodevelopment at age 8 (N = 193, 97 males and 96 females). Ethnicity was categorized as Romanian (71%), Roma (21%), unknown (7%), or other (1%). We identified a significant interaction between early caregiving environment (i.e., institutionalized versus never institutionalized children) and the a priori defined genoset for full-scale IQ, two spatial working memory tasks, and prefrontal cortex gray matter volume. Model validation was performed using a bootstrap resampling procedure. Although we hypothesized that the effect of this genoset would operate in a manner consistent with differential susceptibility, our results demonstrate a complex interaction where vantage susceptibility, diathesis stress, and differential susceptibility are implicated.International Journal of Behavioral Development 06/2014; 39(2). DOI:10.1177/0165025414538557 · 1.58 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To consider the evidence that human and animal behaviors are epigenetically programmed by lifetime experiences. Extensive PubMed searches were carried out to gain a broad view of the topic, in particular from the perspective of human psychopathologies such as mood and anxiety disorders. The selected literature cited is complemented by previously unpublished data from the authors' laboratories. Evidence that physiological and behavioral functions are particularly sensitive to the programming effects of environmental factors such as stress and nutrition during early life, and perhaps at later stages of life, is reviewed and extended. Definition of stimulus- and function-specific critical periods of programmability, together with deeper understanding of the molecular basis of epigenetic regulation will deliver greater appreciation of the full potential of the brain's plasticity while providing evidence-based social, psychological and pharmacological interventions to promote lifetime well-being. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.Acta Physiologica 06/2013; DOI:10.1111/apha.12140 · 4.25 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Early psychosocial deprivation can negatively impact the development of executive functions (EFs). Here we explore the impact of early psychosocial deprivation on behavioral and physiological measures (i.e., event-related potentials; ERPs) of two facets of EF, inhibitory control and response monitoring, and their associations with internalizing and externalizing outcomes in the Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP; Zeanah et al., 2003). This project focuses on two groups of children placed in institutions shortly after birth and then randomly assigned in infancy to either a foster care intervention or to remain in their current institutional setting. A group of community controls was recruited for comparison. The current study assesses these children at 8-years of age examining the effects of early adversity, the potential effects of the intervention on EF and the role of EF skills in socio-emotional outcomes. Results reveal exposure to early psychosocial deprivation was associated with impaired inhibitory control on a flanker task. Children in the foster care intervention exhibited better response monitoring compared to children who remained in the institution on the error-related positivity (Pe). Moreover, among children in the foster care intervention those who exhibited larger error-related negativity (ERN) responses had lower levels of socio-emotional behavior problems. Overall, these data identify specific aspects of EF that contribute to adaptive and maladaptive socio-emotional outcomes among children experiencing early psychosocial deprivation.Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 05/2013; 7:167. DOI:10.3389/fnhum.2013.00167 · 2.90 Impact Factor