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Learn more about positive language choices to use when discussing adoption.
Are there any ongoing studies that are focusing on adoption and child development?
The Bucharest Early Intervention Project (BEIP) began in 2000 and is a longitudinal randomized controlled study design following a group of Romanian orphans. While the study design alone is difficult to conduct with intercountry adoptees, they also used measures examining brain structures and activity (i.e., MRI, EEG) and telomere length. Results not only showed type of care setting and timing of placement differentially impacted brain structures and activity, but an effect was indicated for telomere length. Telomeres are the cap-like structures covering the ends of our chromosomes. They shorten with cell division marking cellular aging. Stress can accelerate this process with institutionalization long identified as a stressor. The BEIP team found children who spent any duration of time in an institution had shorter telomeres than children who had not spent time in an institution at all. The intention is for final findings to have global child welfare and institutionalization policy implications.