The Impact of Child Maltreatment on the Developing Brain

vigorous physical exercise stimulates neurogenesis

vigorous physical exercise stimulates neurogenesis

At the Cincinnati Children’s Pediatric Mental Health Conference held September 23rd and 24th, registered attendees heard and saw speaker, Frank Kros, MSW, JD, President of The UpsideDown Organization present brain scans, genetic and neuro-physiological research on the impact of environment, (including poverty), diet, emotion, domestic violence, lack of enrichment, and physical exercise on the developing brain, body, and mental health. His presentation was titled ‘Child Abuse and the Brain: The Developmental Impact of Trauma in Childhood.’ Kros is ‘’a career child advocate who has served as a childcare worker, child abuse investigator, children’s home administrator, consultant, college professor, attorney, writer, and speaker, who is certified in applied educational neuroscience,’ according to the course material bio. He is President of the non-profit, The UpsideDown Organization. Pomegranate exhibited at this two day event.

Kros explained what child maltreatment is: ‘neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse.’ These, along with life experience events (death, separation, relocation, disaster, and other experiences) contribute to trauma. He outlined developmental needs, physical needs, cognitive, and emotional needs and explained examples within each definition. Kros cited the Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect, which identified factors that impact the likelihood of maltreatment. ‘Family structure, poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence and community violence’ were all contributors. Significantly, ‘most child maltreatment is never reported.’ Participants learned the latest findings on the Hippocampus, Cerebellum, Frontal Lobes, Amygdala, Corpus Callossum related to the impact of abuse, diet, genetic, bio-chemical, and neuro-psychiatric development in an engaged, lively way.

Traumatic stress can contribute to a change in the child’s brain organ size, changes in thinking, emotional control, challenges to empathic response, development of a ‘conscience’, impulsive response, memory formation/retention, and a host of disorders- such as diminished behavioral control. He presented hope through several scenarios and recommendations for brain boosting, healing and repair, citing statistics, reports and evidence behind neuro-developmental skill enhancement. Conference participants saw slides of neurons, brain scans, and real-life examples of the impact of life events on brain formation and development, harm and healing.

Some of the recommendations (in the 8 hour training) included routines & rituals, vigorous physical play, exercise, consistent care, enriched environments and helping the young person develop skills to develop mastery. Along with this, healthy diet, and proper sleep are important contributors in stimulating neurogenesis. Kros believes Child Maltreatment is a significant public health problem, and to that, he’s dedicated his life to enhancing public awareness and helping turn the tide.
For more information about The UpsideDown nonprofit organization which is dedicated to transformation, education and advocacy – and the many fine workshops they offer, visit:

[photo credit: Vigorous Physical activity is good for neurogenesis. Girl on rocky upward path photo is by Duccio/Dreamstime 15243723]


About Communications

Communications and Social Media @ Sequel-Pomegranate Health Systems
This entry was posted in adolescent psychiatry, behavioral health, behavioral health disorders, mental health, pediatric psychiatry, psychiatric care, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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