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Early Programming during Attachment Development and its Relevance for Risk/Resilience of Neuropsychiatric and Cardiometabolic Diseases during Adulthood

Author(s): Carlos Manuel Zapata-Martín del Campo, Carmen Verónica Guarner-Catalá, Verónica Guarner- Lans

Social and cultural environmental factors influence the development of susceptibility to diseases in adulthood since the peri-natal stages of life. Sociotype describes the way in which interactions between social, cultural and environmental factors influence health. It plays a role as important as that of the genotype and phenotype in the balance of the health/disease processes during all the life span. Attachment forms part of the sociotype and is defined as the innate biological system that characterizes the link between an infant and a bonding figure. It increases the possibility of survival to a reproductive age and determines empathy and intimacy that when incorrectly established may be the cause of a number of pathological conditions in the adult life. Different types of attachment have, as a consequence, physiological and endocrinological alterations that result from the exposure to stressful and/or traumatic events during early stages of life. These constitute long- term plastic changes in structures in the central nervous system that produce in alterations in signaling molecule production that may arise from epigenetic cues established during the early stages of life in trauma- exposed subjects and that may lead to increased risk of diseases in adulthood. Therefore, sociotype and attachment might determine epigenetic alterations that may act on biological pathways involved in the comorbidity of cardiometabolic and neuropsychiatric diseases.

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    Michael Maes

  • Molecular Biology and Neuroscience
    Deakin University
    Victoria, Australia

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