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Living with Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Adverse Childhood Experiences - link to AI conditions


#1

Hello all,

Recently a friend gave me a book called Childhood Disrupted that discusses the research that has been going on since the 1990s on thousands of patients with chronic health problems that also experienced a variety of chronic adverse experiences in childhood. According to the study, there is a dramatic correlation to developing an autoimmune condition (among other things) later in life. I found it to be eye opening and dead on in my case. You can read more about the study here and there is a link to a questionnaire as well.

http://www.acestudy.org/


#2

Yep. I can easily imagine that this is the case. We are joined-up systems and stress is an acknowledged trigger for PsA. I recall a similar post some years back, which was pondering a link with childhood abuse.

I like being grown-up, it's a much better place. I'll check out the questionnaire when I'm feeling brave!


#3

I took the survey a couple of months ago. My ACE score was 7. I know I have a genetic tendency toward auto-immune disorders (psoriasis since I was age 6) and toward an increased chance of PsA. Paul and I have thought that what "triggered" me into PsA was the 15 months he spent in Kuwait and Iraq. I know I've wondered since diagnosis how much my childhood contributed not necessarily to the trigger, but to the "ammunition".

Sybil: Being a grown up *is* a much better place!


#4

While there may be a link, it doesn’t imply causation.

When I was first diagnosed I did a lot of reading about autoimmune diseases and causes. What I read made a lot of sense about a combination of factors, including heredity, chemical exposure, infections, childbearing, etc. childhood trauma could certainly be part of the stress picture, but not causative.


#5

Certainly correlation does not imply causation. The study really gets into epigenetics and how environmental exposures of all types can affect gene expression. In this particular study, they examine how chronic traumatic events cause children to have a constant level of anxiety created by the fight or flight response that your body experiences when you are scared, stressed, etc. During that response, the body releases inflammatory agents among other physiological responses. The theory goes that if you are experiencing this over and over as a child, that child is being exposed to high levels of inflammation for years and that may contribute to AI issues or damage/alter genes in ways in which we don't yet understand. Interestingly, the research has also uncovered genes that make some individuals less responsive to stressors and appear to protect them from disease later in life. Interesting reading in any case.