In addition, maternal stress during pregnancy may increase the child's risk of developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affecting communication and behaviour, psychiatric illnesses, and can also lead to changes in the nutrients a mother passes on to her babies in the womb.
"Understanding how stress impacts developing biological systems may lead to new, patient-specific approaches to treatment and better outcomes," said Heather Brenhouse, postdoctoral student from the Northeastern University in the US.
Further, early life stress was found to change chromatin structure in a brain reward region in mice, making them more vulnerable to stress as adults.
Early life stress also accelerates the development of the fear response in young mice. However, the effect can be prevented by blocking stress hormone production, according to the study.
Scientists are discovering more about the mechanisms through which childhood or foetal stress disrupts brain development and leads to these disorders, which may help reveal new therapeutic strategies, the team noted.
The research also suggests novel approaches to combat the effects of stress, such as inhibiting stress hormone production or "resetting" populations of immune cells in the brain.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)