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A new article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reinforces the importance of prevention programs and policies that support safe, stable and nurturing relationships and environments for children.  According to authors James A Mercy, Ph.D., and Janet Saul, Ph.D., investing in prevention programs can not only improve the long-term health and mental health of a child that can last throughout adulthood, but can also reduce criminal behavior and generate important economic benefits to society.  Conversely, a history of adverse and traumatic experiences can detrimentally effect optimal brain development and lead to long term health risks such as smoking, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, as well as emotional and behavioral problems such as continuing the cycle of violence in relationships, depression, and even suicide.  The article sites several successful research-based prevention models.  [Read full article – JAMA June 3, 2009]