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Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain

Center on the Developing Child  Harvard University

Science tells us that experiences early in life may have long-term consequences for a child’s learning, behavior and both physical and mental health.

Some types of “positive stress” in a child’s life (overcoming the challenges and frustrations of learning a new, difficult task, for instance) can be beneficial. On the other hand, severe, uncontrollable, chronic adversity (defined as “toxic stress” ) can produce detrimental effects on developing brain architecture as well as on the chemical and physiological systems that help an individual adapt to stressful events.

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