Monoamine oxidase A plays role in child trauma resilience

BOSTON, MA — Long-term studies of child development indicate that some people remain psychologically healthy despite years of severe deprivation and trauma. Researchers are now studying the characteristics and circumstances surrounding the ability to endure stress and bounce back—a quality they call resilience, reports the December 2006 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter.

Adapting to stress is a complex process that involves many interacting influences. Social and family environment have received most of the attention, but advances in genetics, psychopharmacology, and brain imaging now permit closer study of the biological underpinnings of resilience.

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