Podcast: The Science of Traumatic Childhood Stress

An adult holding a child's hands with an icon of a brain overlaying the image.

We all experience stress, it’s an unavoidable part of life. And when we experience stress our bodies respond by releasing a rush of chemicals – like adrenaline – to help us fight or flee the situation. Usually, once the danger has passed, our bodies return to normal and no long-term damage is done. But what if the stress never fully goes away? What if our bodies never get a chance to return to normal?

In the sole episode of the Durham Science Drive-thru, I interview Dr. Katie Rosenbalm, a researcher in Duke’s Center for Child and Family Policy, about her research into the long-term effects of prolonged stress, how it physically changes our body, and how a decades-long study on adverse childhood experiences provides hope and practical measures to address a growing public health problem.