ACEs, Toxic Stress, Inflammation, and Adversity
Chances are, you’ve heard about ACEs and Toxic Stress, whether it be in a medical journal or in the media. It can be difficult as a pediatric healthcare practitioner to distill the vast amount of information available into a working knowledge base that’s useful and important in practice. Unfortunately, it’s easy to find misleading or incorrect information about these subjects. Here, we provide the key concepts behind ACEs, toxic stress, and associated inflammatory responses. We also introduce and discuss the concept of adversity. When we began learning about and defining adversity, many of us thought about important factors like poverty, child maltreatment, and caregiver depression or addiction. We’ve broadened our understanding to view other important systemic causes of adversity, including the unique threats of systemic racism.