Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Never too soon: Means to reduce violence may start in utero

Date:
September 10, 2011
Source:
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing
Summary:
It's hard to think of a baby being violent or destructive, but the seeds of violence may be planted before a child is born, according to new research. Attention to health factors as early as the prenatal stage could prevent violence in later life, reports researchers.

It's hard to think of a baby being violent or destructive, but the seeds of violence may be planted before a child is born, according to research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Attention to health factors as early as the prenatal stage could prevent violence in later life, reports Penn Nursing Assistant Professor Jianghong Liu, PhD, RN, in the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior.

Recent research demonstrates a biological basis of crime, says Dr. Liu. "'Biological' does not mean only genetic factors," she explains, "but also health factors, such as nutritional deficiency and lead exposure, which influence biological processes."

Dr. Liu's study emphasizes the prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal periods, which are critical times for both a child's neuro-development and for environmental modifications.

Evidence shows that the risk factors for delinquency and crime begin early in life and that the brain undergoes the most critical development in children in the first 36 months, highlighting the importance of early intervention.

Among the early health risk factors Dr. Liu identifies are prenatal and postnatal nutrition, lead exposure, tobacco use during pregnancy, maternal depression and stress, birth complications, traumatic brain injury, and child abuse. Dr. Liu's research indicates that identifying early health risk factors is an important first step in preventing childhood aggression and teenage delinquency, which have been shown to lead to violence in adulthood, a major problem in society.

"Violence affects everyone in society and the cost of violence also has an indirect impact on our lives," says Dr. Liu. Data from the Centers for Disease Control show that within the American population ages 10 to 34, homicides rank within the top three leading causes of death. The U.S. healthcare system incurs $176 billion a year in costs from gunshot and stabbing wounds alone.

Despite decades of research into social and biological risk factors for antisocial and aggressive behavior in children, very little is known about the effects of early childhood health factors on these outcomes.

"As a society we should invest in better health care for early life -- as early as a growing fetus -- in order to minimize their health risk factors for violence," says Dr. Liu. "It is never too early to intervene in the development of violent tendencies."

In this capacity, nurses can have a central role in prenatal care, says Dr. Liu. "When a woman visits the hospital during her pregnancy, her physical symptoms are often the main focus. Very little time is spent talking extensively with expectant parents about things like avoiding toxic exposure and screening for exposure to lead and tobacco, which have been shown to lead to both birth complications and behavior problems in later life," she explains.

"Nurses can take an active role in not only caring for the victims of violence, but also in the prevention of violence," she says. "In primary care and community health settings, nurses are in an excellent position to provide education to parents about proper prenatal care and early childhood care, such as good nutrition and how to minimize exposure to environmental toxins."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. "Never too soon: Means to reduce violence may start in utero." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110910135206.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. (2011, September 10). Never too soon: Means to reduce violence may start in utero. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110910135206.htm
University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. "Never too soon: Means to reduce violence may start in utero." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110910135206.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins