The recent advances at the crossroad among behavioral science, psychoneuroendocrinology, neuroscience, genetics, and epigenetics are revealing how early environmental exposures — for good or bad — leave biochemical “scars” or signatures in our developmental biology. These biological and behavioral memorial processes of our precocious encounters with life constitute the interwoven mechanisms that contribute to the long-lasting programming of health and disease later in life. The quality of early caregiving and the exposure to adverse life events — even when the exposure occurs in previous generations — are embedded into our developing phenotype and contribute to our health trajectories and disease risk from infancy to adulthood.
In the past months, together with Rosario Montirosso (IRCCS E. Medea, Bosisio Parini, Italy) and Ed Tronick (University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA) I have edited a research topic for Frontiers in Psychology and Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience that collect the most recent contributions that aims to provide a response (or new questions) to this foundamental question: How early experiences in life affect our developmental trajectories?
The special issue includes contributions from different European (i.e., Germany, Finland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland), Asiatic (i.e., China), and North American (i.e., Canada, United States of America) countries. The virtuous integration of expertise between the scientific and the clinical
frameworks is hugely needed in order to advance the scientific knowledge in directions that can forcefully impact our capacity to provide smarter interventions and more efficient preventive
strategies for at-risk individuals. We hope that the present Research Topicmay be a step forward into this direction and that it can benefit future translational studies.
Read the editorial here.
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