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J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1993 Fall;5(4):401-8.

Increased prevalence of electrophysiological abnormalities in children with psychological, physical, and sexual abuse.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.


This retrospective study examined the association between abuse history and neurological abnormalities in 115 consecutive patients admitted to a child and adolescent psychiatric inpatient unit. Increased electrophysiological abnormalities were found in abused patients compared with non-abused patients (54.4% vs. 26.9%, P = 0.021), predominantly in the left side of the frontal, temporal, or anterior region (P = 0.036). This may support the hypothesis that early abuse alters brain development, particularly limbic structures. However, a large-scale prospective longitudinal assessment study is needed to interpret this association. Possible clinical consequences of relatively preserved right frontal function are discussed.

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