Stress and the Central Role of the Brain in Health Inequities

Friday, February 19, 2010: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Room 2 (San Diego Convention Center)
There are enormous health disparities among racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups in the United States and between developed and developing nations across the world. These affect virtually every aspect of mental and physical health. A major cause of these disparities is stress, which can result from many factors in the physical and social environment. Stress is known to affect a variety of systems critical to health and is increased by the same factors that reduce health equity, including poverty, undernutrition, abuse, and racism. Stress experienced during the prenatal and neonatal period is particularly toxic. We know the brain plays a key role in determining the impact of stress on the whole body because it is both a target of stress and a determinant of the behavioral and physiological stress responses. Despite this knowledge, there has been much too little effort to address the challenges posed by health disparities within a community of investigators studying the brain and behavior. This symposium seeks to provide an overview of some of the key research studies in the area of early stress and brain health and thereby encourage a more active dialogue on the ways in which researchers can work to reduce health disparities.
Michael J. Zigmond, University of Pittsburgh
Bruce S. McEwen, Rockefeller University
Michael J. Zigmond, University of Pittsburgh
David R. Williams, Harvard University
Stress and Racial Disparities in Brain and Body Health
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