Friday, July 5, 2013

Coming Up ACEs

On my first radio interview regarding my book DYING TO LIVE: Running backwards through cancer, Lupus, and chronic illness, much of the discussion centered on the Adverse Childhood Effects (ACE) Study continually being conducted by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and individual states. Seems we're all coming up ACES!

The simple 10 question ACE survey gives you your score. I'm a six which places me on the 'DISEASE MOST WANTED LIST' for having a much higher risk of developing adult physical or mental illness. This is what my book talks about and brings to light in a very personal story.

In the United States, 21 states are performing their own ACE studies since learning an astonishing 87 per cent of us score more than one on the survey. As the researchers explain, this startling statistic must not be addressed with a 'top down' approach but, rather, immediately upon establishing a relationship with a physician or medical practitioner who can help mitigate the results of childhood trauma.

To wit, "the ACE Study uncovered a stunning link between childhood trauma and the chronic diseases people develop as adults, as well as social and emotional problems," says the ACES Too High web site that is filled with never-before-seen research, study results, scads of information about the way those of us with ACE scores above "0" fare in this world.
According to the contributors to the site "the first research results were published in 1998, followed by 57 other publications through 2011" that revealed:
  • Childhood trauma was very common, even in employed white middle-class, college-educated people with great health insurance;
  • There [is] a direct link between childhood trauma and adult onset of chronic disease, as well as depression, suicide, being violent and a victim of violence;
  • More types of trauma increased the risk of health, social and emotional problems; and
  • People usually experience more than one type of trauma – rarely is it only sex abuse or only verbal abuse.

According to my own research, I found studies in Australia and New Zealand that pre-dated the ACE study with findings very similar. I offer mention of these in my book. 
So, like me, we're out of hiding - those of us who are seeking to understand why we are stricken with cancerLupus, and assorted auto-immune disorders. And if we are to take to task experts like  Noel R. Rose, M.D., Ph.D.* who says:
"A major aim of the American Autoimmune Related Disease Association is to help us to understand that all of these diseases, diverse as they are, in their anatomical location, in their clinical manifestation, are related because they have the same etiology; they are all caused by autoimmunity. In my opinion, the only way we're going to develop really effective treatments will be to treat the cause of the disease, not the symptoms. The symptoms are late; the symptoms are at the end of the train of events. We want to get on the train at the very beginning."
We want to get on the train at the very beginning. Yes we do, sir. Yes, we do. 
I must include one huge caveat here. Not all of us who have experienced childhood maltreatment in any form WILL develop adult physical or mental illness. There's just a high probability, now proven, that we can. This is a discussion that must continue and 'professional patients' like myself must bring this information to the fore when we visit our own medical caretakers and in magazine articles, speeches, and books like my own. 
To hear the podcast of the July 1, 2013 radio show entitled Safety First is Murphy's Law with Tracey Murphy, go to this link:
The hosts of this program have invited me back Monday, July 8, 2013 - 8pm EST to continue our dialogue on this very important topic. It is a call-in program so I hope to 'meet' you there!

*Chairman Emeritus, AARDA, National Scientific Advisory Board; Professor of Pathology and of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology; Director, Center for Autoimmune Disease Research, Bloomberg School of Public Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

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