Childhood Adversities Linked to Obesity Later in Life Interview with:

Christos S. Mantzoros, MD, DSc, PhD Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the VA Boston HealthcareChristos S. Mantzoros, MD, DSc, PhD
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the VA Boston Healthcare

Cynthia R. Davis PhD Judge Baker Children’s Center in Boston, MA.Cynthia R. Davis PhD
Judge Baker Children’s Center in Boston, MA. What are the main findings of this study?

Answer: These results highlight that chronic stressors in childhood, like child abuse and family violence, parental substance abuse, divorce and separation from a parental figure, can potentially have a long standing impact on brain structures and functioning, such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis.  Our work supports the notion of allostatic load, and is the first of its kind to demonstrate links between childhood adversity and central obesity later in life which leads to increased cardio metabolic risk.

This study describes the role of these novel molecules in mediating metabolic dysregulation highlighting them as a novel mechanism linking childhood adversity to obesity.

We have also used more sensitive assessments of childhood adversity, not typically employed in biomedical research, that incorporate the severity of adversities and their chronicity across childhood.  Assessments of this nature are better able to detect severe and chronic adversity, and are critical in the measurement of stress, its role in allostatic load and its impact on the brain.  Furthermore, the current study and others from our lab show that severe and chronic adversity in childhood is associated with metabolic dysregulation and obesity in adulthood, regardless of lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise and psychosocial factors like depression and social support.

Clinicians and patients need to be aware of the fact that subjects exposed to early life adversity are at increase risk for central obesity and cardio metabolic risk. What further research do you recommend as a result of this report?

Answer:   We need to perform interventional studies, leveraging this newly found knowledge, to assess whether adding psychological / behavioral therapy to classical biomedical interventions could improve the hormonal profile and alleviate future cardio metabolic risk of these subjects.


Early Life Adversity Is Associated With Elevated Levels of Circulating Leptin, Irisin, and Decreased Levels of Adiponectin in Midlife Adults

Kyoung Eun Joung, Kyung-Hee Park, Lesya Zaichenko, Ayse Sahin-Efe, Bindiya Thakkar, Mary Brinkoetter, Nicole Usher, Dorothy Warner, Cynthia R. Davis, Judith A. Crowell, and Christos S. Mantzoros

Ahead of Print, jc.2013-3669 March 22, 2014 The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2014; jc.2013-3669 DOI: 10.1210/jc.2013-3669


Last Updated on January 17, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD