This application, proposes an overarching theme to foster research into early life adversity (ELA) that will fundamentally develop and prepare the field for greater scientific discoveries, with a particular focus on interventions for population and patient benefits. Furthermore, we aim to raise awareness in the field about the importance of ELA, including ELA measurement, mechanisms, and interventions.
Specific aims will be in three themes: (1) ELA Measures: Develop an ELA measurement toolkit that will include the best theoretically- embedded, prospectively- and retrospectively-assessed ELA measures, and will evolve as new discoveries on ELA measurement are made. (2) ELA Mechanisms: Catalyze research on key mechanisms through which ELA influences health and aging outcomes (e.g. biological, behavioral and self-report mechanisms). Target mechanisms will be evaluated as to whether they are both malleable to interventions and influence aging outcomes. (3) ELA Interventions: Foster research on: (a) Adult effects of early life interventions for those exposed to ELA; (b) Adult interventions for those who recall ELA and/or were objectively exposed to ELA. The approach to achieve these aims will be to extend an interdisciplinary, international Research Network on Interventions to Reverse Effects of Early Life Adversity (the ?Reversibility Network?) that was developed over the past five years. During the coming five years, the Reversibility Network will focus on ELA research capacity and community building, as well as on ELA knowledge dissemination, which will cut across the three themes outline above. This will be done through the following specific approaches: (1) Focused annual Reversibility Network investigator meetings, with an emphasis on building research capacity and community through bringing together senior and junior investigators, and new promising investigators. (2) Conference symposia and pre-conference workshops on three themes above, with major emphases of building the ELA research community (including bringing new researchers into the field), ELA knowledge dissemination, and utilizing existing expertise to enhance network productivity. (3) Fund pilot research, with an emphasis on ELA measurement, mechanisms, and interventions. (4) Develop an ELA measurement toolkit that will address the lack of precise ELA measurement across the lifespan, as well as enhance understanding of ELA mechanisms, and the moderation of interventions by ELA exposure. (5) Develop a website that will offer the ELA measurement toolkit, examples of effective ELA interventions, ELA intervention development frameworks, and opportunities for research and implementation. (6) Three peer-reviewed manuscripts outlining knowledge to date, theoretical frameworks, gaps in knowledge, and recommendations for the field within the three themes of ELA measures, mechanisms and interventions. In accomplishing these aims, the Reversibility Network will support and promote the interdisciplinary collaborations needed to develop effective interventions for mid- and later life adults that can reverse or remediate the effects of ELA.
The Centers for Disease Control recently estimated the annual economic burden for early life adversity (ELA) in the United States to be in the trillions of dollars, in part because exposures early in life continue to impact health and well-being throughout the lifespan. This application proposes an overarching theme to foster ELA research in the following three domains that will fundamentally develop and prepare the field for greater scientific discoveries: (1) ELA measures, (2) ELA mechanisms, and (3) ELA interventions. In accomplishing this work, the Reversibility Network will support and promote the interdisciplinary collaborations needed to develop effective interventions for mid- and later life adults that can compensate/reverse, and ameliorate, effects of ELA.