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Early life stress

update on neurophysiologic effects and treatment

Zik, Jodi; Berkowitz, Steven

doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000546

Purpose of review Recent research on childhood trauma has focused on the effects of in-utero and early life stress (ELS) as well as improving access to care. This review includes the previous year's clinically relevant research with attention to gaps that require further research that should improve patient care.

Recent findings The current article focuses on the latest understanding of ELS effects on the neuroendocrine, inflammatory, immune, and neurologic systems, as well as epigenetic effects with a focus on research examining sex-specific differences. Resilience and innovative treatment delivery models are reviewed with emphasis on integrated care models and technology-based treatments.

Summary The findings reviewed point toward clinically relevant research avenues. The call for more and better treatment options can only be realized with a better understanding of ELS effects. There is a specific need for more in depth exploration and application of sex-specific differences as well as an examination of the effects of age of onset and chronicity of stressors. New developments in the delivery of interventions and treatment allow the potential to provide broader early access to care.

Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Aurora, Colorado, USA

Correspondence to Jodi Zik, MD, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Mail Stop F546, Fitzsimmons Building, 13001 East 17th Place, Rm. E2322, Aurora, CO 80045, USA. E-mail:

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