Saturday, January 22, 2011

Rudeness is a Neurotoxin....

There was a link to a very interesting article posted on the DoNM board a few weeks ago. It was taken from and is about the effects of abuse on brain development.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

A series of studies by a group of psychiatrists and brain imaging scientists lead by Martin Teicher, of Harvard Medical School, shows that even hostile words in the form of verbal abuse can cause these brain changes and enduring psychiatric risks for young adults. In a study published in 2006, the researchers showed that parental verbal abuse was more strongly associated with these detrimental effects on brain development than was parental physical abuse. In a new study published in the July issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, they report that exposure to verbal abuse from peers is associated with elevated psychiatric symptoms and corpus callosum abnormalities. The main causes are stress hormones, changes in inhibitory neurotransmitters, and environmental experience affecting the formation of myelin electrical insulation on nerve fibers. The most sensitive period for verbal abuse from peers in impairing brain development was exposure during the middle school years. Why? Because this is the period of life when these connections are developing in the human brain, and wiring of the human brain is greatly influenced by environmental experience.

If you'd like to read the original article in it's entirety, it can be found here. To read the original research that the article is based on, go here.  


  1. I appreciate you helping me learn more about this topic. This information makes it easier for me to be more patient and nicer to myself while I work through years of faulty wiring:)

    After reading this article, boy, am I glad I loved my own son enough to meet his daily need for hugs and kisses and encouragement. He *must* have healthier brain connections than I do. Case in point, he's a lot calmer than I've ever been! In fact, when I'm around him I am ultra aware of how anxious I am compared to him. He's so patient and kind...EMPATHETIC:)...he's actually gently teaching me, his old mom, how to relax and enjoy today.

  2. I used to joke with my counselor that I had an easier job as a computer tech. I could just wipe the hard drive and start over. He had to deal with a massive ball of mixed up connections and faulty wiring. He couldn't reach inside my head and change it. All he could do was persuade me that the damage wasn't permanent, my past did not define me, and I could chose a different future. I like Jasmine's idea that this information will help me to be a little kinder to myself as I rewire.