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Wekerle CIHR Team - Can we identify biological markers of risk and resilience related to the intergenerational transmission of risk?

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Can we identify biological markers of risk and resilience related to the intergenerational transmission of risk?

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Wekerle CIHR Team - Can we identify biological markers of risk and resilience related to the intergenerational transmission of risk?

  1. 1. Can we identify biological markers of risk and resilience related to the intergenerational transmission of risk? Andrea Gonzalez Offord Centre for Child Studies Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences
  2. 2. (Affifi et al., 2011; Cicchetti & Toth, 2005; Gilbert et al., 2009; Gonzalez, 2013) Child Outcomes G1 G2
  3. 3. Macrosystem Exosystem Mesosystem Microsystem
  4. 4. Early Adversity
  5. 5. Mechanism of Transmission • In animals: proposed mechanisms are physiological and include changes in: Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) function, serotonergic function and changes in brain plasticity (Burton et al., 2007; Kaffman & Meaney, 2007; Maestripieri et al., 2007) • In humans: proposed mechanisms have originated from social learning or attachment and include: – Observational learning, role-modeling, and transmission via internal representations (Pullatz et al., 2004; Serbin & Karp, 2004; van IJzendoorn, 1992)
  6. 6. Proposed Model in Humans
  7. 7. Stress System: the Hypothalamic-Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis
  8. 8. Executive Function Wisconsin Card Sorting Test Stroop/ Color-Word Inhibition Set shifting/Cognitive Flexibility Tower Test Spatial planning/inhibition Spatial span/digit span
  9. 9. Maternal early adversity HPA function Executive function Maternal sensitivity 0.22** -0.22* 0.22* -0.33** *p<.05 **p< .01χ2= 5.53; CFI = .98, RMSEA = .06 Gonzalez et al., 2012 JAACAP
  10. 10. Why does this matter? Transmission beyond mom...?
  11. 11.  Developing HPA axis is strongly influenced by social factors throughout infancy  In high-risk populations evidence of transmission of HPA activity to offspring: • Offspring of Holocaust survivors (with parental PTSD) had significantly lower diurnal cortisol levels (Yehuda et al., 2006) • Infants whose mothers developed PTSD after 9/11 had lower diurnal cortisol levels compared to infants with mothers without PTSD (Yehuda & Bierer, 2008)
  12. 12. Parenting and Infant Cortisol Reactivity Atkinson et al., 2013; Psychoneuroendocrinology Mothers and infants’ baseline cortisol levels were positively related, r = .53* and their slopes were positively related, r = .60*
  13. 13. Transmission of Executive Function? 3-months: Maternal history of childhood maltreatment 8-months: Maternal executive function and parenting 18- months: Infant Cognition 3-years: Child executive function
  14. 14. Child cognitive function: 18-months F(6, 104) = 2.26, p <.05
  15. 15. Child Executive Function: 3 years
  16. 16. Summary
  17. 17. Gonzalez, Atkinson, & Fleming, 2009 Parenting Brain Recruits Multiple Systems • Adaptive parenting requires a constellation of capacities including effective stress regulation, attentional control, emotion regulation and executive function. Infant cues EF performance
  18. 18. Early Adversity • Recent imaging studies have implicated these same areas as vulnerable sites to the effects of early adversity, including the DLPFC, ACC, OFC, mPFC, the hippocampus and the amygdala (Hart & Rubia, 2012)
  19. 19. Summary • Early adversity and its impact on biological systems may mediate or moderate deficits related to poor parenting and subsequent offspring outcomes • Understanding the role that these systems plays may help in the understanding of the intergenerational transmission of risk
  20. 20. Intervention Implications • Psycho-educational interventions is likely not be enough to improve parenting and child outcomes for all families • Potential for innovative interventions to target underlying neurocognitive functions and stress system in parents and associated competencies in children • Empirical question whether interventions should target these core capabilities explicitly or implicitly (Shonkoff & Fisher, 2014)
  21. 21. Acknowledgements: Collaborators, Staff, Students, and Participating Families • Collaborators • Harriet MacMillan (McMaster) • Leslie Atkinson (Ryerson) • Susan Jack (McMaster) • Geoff Hall (McMaster) • Margaret McKinnon (McMaster) • Christine Wekerle (McMaster) • Staff/students • Rebecca Lowe • Monica Ivan • Gillian-England Mason • Samantha Daniels • All the mothers and infants who participated in the studies

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