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I attended the Child Abuse Symposium in Santa Clara County, California last Friday and heard a highly effective and important presentation by Dr. John Stirling, Director of the Center for Child Protection at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and Medical Director of Santa Clara County’s Children Shelter.

Dr. Stirling presented the findings of the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) study, a study that has been out for years, which shows a direct link between child mistreatment and adult health and well-being.

Here is a synopsis of the primary findings of the ACE  Study performed by Dr. Vincent Felitti. Fundamentally, the study found that childhood adversity has a direct correlation with adult disfunction and poor health.

Please read the synopsis of this important study:

http://xnet.kp.org/permanentejournal/winter02/goldtolead.html

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The benefits of breastfeeding cannot be overemphasized. Numerous studies show that breastfeeding not only improves immune function, reduces life-long disease, and increases IQ, it also helps prevent abuse and neglect due to the mothering hormones it releases. See UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Statement On New Breastfeeding, January 7, 2010, and UQ Research Finds the Mum Bud Bond May Reduce Neglect, The University of Queensland Australia News, December 9, 2009.

It appears that the mother’s body was created with built-in mechanisms to support the her healthy and positive rearing of infants to create physically and emotionally healthy adults. Yet human beings routinely breach this bond and create circumstances of physical and/or emotional abuse and neglect.

More proof of the deleterious effects of child abuse. A study out of Canada found a link between childhood physical abuse and heightened rates of osteoarthritis. See report of study in Science Daily, Nov. 3, 2009, Childhood Physical Abuse Linked to Osteoarthritis Study Finds.

Here’s one for those who think that children forget what happens to them by the time they grow up. Globe Life writes about a study out of the University of Toronto that found that victims of childhood physical abuse are 49% more likely to develop cancer as adults.

“Child Abuse Victims More Likely to Develop Cancer”, Globe Life.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the research that’s out there today on the subject. There are several doctors writing and researching today on the subject of physical illness developing out of childhood trauma. According to many, a possible explanation for the increased susceptibility is changes in brain chemistry caused by chronic stress.