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HRI Lunchtime Seminar: Maria LaRusso And César Abadía-Barrero

Thursday, October 8, 2020
12:30pm – 2:00pm

Storrs Campus
Virtual Event

Thursday, October 8, 2020 12:30-2:00 p.m. Virtual Event

Registration Link:

Please join us for a lunchtime seminar with Maria LaRusso and César Abadía-Barrero entitled: “New Childhood Epidemics and Children Rights to a Healthy Development."

In recent decades, there has been a growing explosion of what has been called the “new childhood epidemics,” including the 4-A Disorders (Asthma, Allergies, Autism, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/ADHD), as well as childhood eczema, celiac disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and migraines, among others. While school teachers and administrators are overwhelmed by the children’s severe emotional and medical problems, integrative or functional medicine practitioners argue that children’s bodies are being bombarded by a storm of environmental toxins, stressors, and infectious agents that dysregulate the children’s immune, neuroendocrine and gastrointestinal systems. Thanks to a seed grant from the Center for the Study of Culture, Health and Human Development (CHHD), we investigated families’ experiences of one of these chronic childhood illnesses called PANS (Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome). PANS is estimated to affect 1 in 200 children, usually in pre-pubertal ages, and causes a rapid and alarming cascade of symptoms which can include Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, tic disorder, restrictive eating, anxiety, emotional lability and/or depression, behavioral (developmental) regression, ADHD, and somatic signs and symptoms, including sensory or motor abnormalities, sleep disturbances, enuresis or urinary frequency. While we will present on the first analysis of our data, we also want to share our preliminary ideas about a larger research program that aims to investigate the relationships between growing toxicity and stressors, children’s dysregulated bodies, and children’s rights. Our long term goal is to propose integrated and inter-sectorial interventions that can redress some of these deleterious impacts as well as promote children’s rights to develop to their full potential. Maria LaRusso is an Assistant Professor in Human Development and Family Studies. She studies social and emotional development and well-being of children and adolescents, changes in children’s emotional and behavioral dysregulation, and the effectiveness of interventions. César Abadía-Barrero is an Associate Professor in Anthropology and Human Rights. His research centers on the relationship among capitalism, health, and decolonial approaches to rights.


Imge Akaslan,

Human Rights Institute (primary), Center for the Study of Culture, Health, and Human Development, Human Development & Family Studies, UConn Master Calendar

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