Behind the signs of physical and psychological abuse, deeper repercussions have recently been identified on the genome of the abused child and include structural and functional changes in the regulation of several genes. Several studies have shown that these changes contribute to short- or long-term consequences, mainly associated with the development of neuropsychiatric and behavioural disorders in childhood and adulthood. Violence against children is one of the least researched areas in scientific research until today.According to the Unicef and World Health Organisation’s initiatives for the development of new scientific and technological solutions for the protection of minors, the project intends to use genomic knowledge and highly processive biotechnological systems to identify new preventive and therapeutic solutions to support the psychotherapy (and not only) of minors and adults who have suffered maltreatment and abuse.The pivotal clinical trial conducted by IRIB-CNR, aims at investigating the onset mechanisms of some neurological and pisco-behavioural disorders, in particular evaluating the role of genetic and epigenetic variants in some key genes of neuroendocrine regulation, specifically associated with child abuse.The project, which has been started for over 4 years, is carried out in collaboration with a selected team of paediatricians, psychiatrists, child neuropsychiatrists, orthopaedists, psychologists and pharmacologists from the University and the Provincial Health Department of Catania, as well as the support of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Juvenile Court of Catania.
- Expand the number of biomarkers examined for molecular profiling of child abuse;
- Provide a differential diagnosis between the various forms of abuse through the characterization of a specific epigenetic profile.
- Increase awareness of the associated risks of child abuse among school teachers and paediatricians, both of whom have a crucial role to play in the fight against abuse because they are in constant and close contact with children and often also their families.
- Promote a more active role for scientific research in combating social and psychological resistance to admitting a repulsive phenomenon, through the application of new biotechnological methods transferred to general diagnostic practice.
IRIB CNR TEAM
- Enrico Parano Senior Researcher, Catania’s Section Manager
- Paola Dell’Albani Researcher
- Rosalia Pellitteri Researcher
- Margherita Rodolico Technologist
- Xena Giada Pappalardo PhD student
In collaboration with: