Children with behavioral problems more at risk of inflammation

Children with behavioral problems may be at risk of many chronic diseases in adulthood including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, as well as inflammatory illnesses (conditions which are caused by cell damage).

Analyzing data on more than 4,000 participants in the Children of the 90s study at the University of Bristol, researchers from Harvard and Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health found that children with behavioral problems at the age of 8, had higher levels of two proteins (C-reactive protein—CRP; and Interleukin 6—IL-6) in their blood when tested at the age of 10. This was the case even after a large number of other factors, including sex, race, background, and medication use, were taken into account.

Having raised levels of CRP and IL-6 can be an early warning sign that a person may be at risk of chronic or later in life.

Previous research has shown that children with behavioral problems can go on to develop health problems during , but this is the first time that a link has been found between mental health and inflammation in childhood.

The researchers believe the link may be due to the fact that many behavioral problems are associated with how the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis works. The HPA axis plays a major role in controlling reactions to stress and the immune system and, if it malfunctions, it can stimulate the release of the two proteins that cause chronically elevated levels of inflammation, which is tissue's response to injury.

Speaking about the findings, Karestan Koenen, PhD, the report's senior author and associate professor of Epidemiology, said:

"This new research shows for the first time that having behavioral problems in childhood can put children on the path to ill health much earlier than we previously realized. The important message for healthcare professionals is that they need to monitor the as well as the mental health of children with in order to identify those at risk as early as possible."

Findings are published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers explore childhood development and sleep patterns

Jul 24, 2013

Be it the stress of poor work-life balance and everyday living or the seemingly endless stream of technological advancement unleashed globally on a daily basis, sleep patterns have become neglected for some and nightmarish ...

Recommended for you

Mindfulness helps teens cope with stress, anxiety

6 hours ago

As the morning school bell rings and students rush through crowded corridors, teenagers in one Portland classroom settle onto mats and meditation pillows. They fall silent after the teacher taps a Tibetan ...

Study links suicide risk with insomnia, alcohol use

8 hours ago

A new study is the first to show that insomnia symptoms mediate the relationship between alcohol use and suicide risk, and that this mediation is moderated by gender. The study suggests that the targeted ...

Echolocation acts as substitute sense for blind people

14 hours ago

Recent research carried out by scientists at Heriot-Watt University has demonstrated that human echolocation operates as a viable 'sense', working in tandem with other senses to deliver information to people with visual impairment.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.