AI could help develop new treatments for people with childhood trauma. This is the result of a study by the University of Essex based on hundreds of brain scans.

In a recent study, researchers examined how childhood trauma affects the human brain. It is considered the world's largest study in this area and could give those affected new hope.

AI inspires hope for people with childhood trauma

For the study, a team of researchers from the University of Essex used artificial intelligence to examine hundreds of brain scans of people who were abused as children or experienced emotional pain. The result: childhood trauma can impair development and affect, among other things, the areas of problem solving and empathy.

According to co-author and neuroscientist Megan Klabunde, this finding could lead to new treatments to reverse the effects of trauma. These are usually dangerous or life-threatening events that cause severe anxiety.

Artificial intelligence recognizes new data patterns

Other studies have previously shown that childhood trauma can affect brain development. However, the University of Essex study is the first to use AI to identify new data patterns and better understand brain scans.

According to Megan Klabunde, the researchers were able to demonstrate “that there are clear changes in two large clusters in the brain.” She added: “We now know that problem solving and self-focus are impaired, meaning someone could have problems with emotions, building relationships and even understanding their own body.”

Additionally, trauma could affect memory and decision-making. Conventional therapies, meanwhile, often aim to combat the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. However, according to Megan Klabunde, this “overlooks an important piece of the puzzle”.

With the help of AI, the researchers were now able to find out that childhood trauma can affect the body, self-esteem and relationships even without obvious symptoms. The new findings should, in turn, help find the right treatments to reverse the effects.

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