James W. Prescott, Ph.D.

1962, Oct 17: PL 87-838   Congressional Law that established the NICHD to
conduct and support of research and training relating to maternal health, child health, and human development, including research and training in the special health problems and requirements of mothers and children..."(Sec 441).

1968  Published Conference of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) on  Perspectives On Human Deprivation: Biological,  Psychological, and  Sociological  that established the mission of the NICHD on   the effects of maternal-social deprivation (mother-infant separation) upon infants, children and   society.  As a result of their reviews, the authors of the four chapters are  unanimous in urging that high priority  and massive support  be given to expansion of research in psychosocial deprivation.

Prescott, J.W. (1968). Early Social Deprivation. In: Perspectives on Human Deprivation:  Biological, Psychological and Sociological, (Chapter IV: Biological Substrates of  Development and Behavior, D.B. Lindsley and A.H. Riesen, Eds). National Institute of  Child Health and Human Development. DHEW. Bethesda, MD.

1970.  TIME LIFE FILMS ROCK-A-BYE BABY. LOTHAR WOLFF, Executive Producer. James W. Prescott, Scientific Director. Documentary: Mother-Infant-Separation .National-   International Awards. CINE Golden Eagle Award.


1971.  Publication

Prescott, J.W. (1971). Early somatosensory deprivation as an ontogenetic process in the abnormal development of the brain and behavior. In: Medical Primatology 1970.   (I.E. Goldsmith and J. Moor-Jankowski, Eds). S. Karger, Basel, New York.


1974. Publication

Berman, A.J., Berman, D. & Prescott, J.W. (1974). The effect of cerebellar lesions on emotional behavior in the rhesus monkey. In: The Cerebellum, Epilepsy and   Behavior. (Cooper, I.S., Riklon, M.V. & Snider, R.S. (Eds) Plenum, NY

1974.  June 17, 18, 1974 NIH Bethesda, Md.: "NICHD Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect: Issues in Developmental Research"

Response of the NICHD to a memo on child abuse and neglect from Sectretary Weinberger. The NICHD will fund a conference in 1974 and will contribute a    budget of $200,000 for fiscal year 1974 to the examination of the problem.
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1975.  Publication.
Prescott, J.W. (1975) Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence.    TheFuturist  April.   Reprinted: The Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists (1975)  November.

1975.  Publication.
Heath, R. G. (l975): Maternal-social deprivation and abnormal  brain development:  Disorders of   emotional and social behavior. In Brain Function and    Malnutrition: :Neuropsychological Methods of Assessment   Prescott,  J.W.,  Read, M.S.,   &Coursin, D.B., Eds).John Wiley New York.

Memo: April 15, 1975  New Director Kretchmer, NICHD removed NICHD of its agency responsibility to support research on child abuse and neglect and  violated the Directive of Secretary Caspar Weinberger to the NICHD. NICHD decided not to publish conference proceedings on child abuse and neglect.   View Document

Memo: May 22, 1975
"The Director, NICHD, has decided not to commit the funds necessary to publish the proceeding of the above indicated research conference. In lieu of this effort, the NICHD has concluded an agreement with NIMH to supply up to $15,000 for a collaborative study of abuse and neglect of adolescents. Dr. Ira Lourie, of NIMH, will be in charge of the study." -- signed Jehu C. Hunter, Acting Associate Director for Program Planning and Evaluation, NICHD, NIH
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  May 14, 1975

NIH Memo to Jehu C. Hunter from Joseph Bobbitt, Ph.D. It explicity states that DHEW Secretary Weinberger is upset by the lack of response from various federal agencies to his directive to increase activity and research on child abuse and neglect. "He finally said that perhaps the Secretary would have to remind the agencies and set fiscal obligations as he did for FY [fiscal year] 74." Bobbitt stated "that specific requirements were never set for FY 75 (but that NICHD had maintained its FY 1974 mandate level)".
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Memo: Dec. 29, 1977

Memo Scientist Administrator Prescott to Director NICHD, Kretchmer. Summary of situation and request to fund the research project of Dr. A. Riesen on Somatosensory Deprivation.
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1979. Publication.

Prescott, J.W. (l979): Deprivation of physical affection as a primary process in the development of physical violence. In. Child Abuse and Violence (Gil, D. G., Ed).  AMS  Press New York  pp  66-137. 

 Memo: Dec. 29, 1977
Memo Scientist Administrator Prescott to Director NICHD, Kretchmer. Summary of situation and request to fund the research project of Dr. A. Riesen on Somatosensory Deprivation.
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Memo: Jan. 30, 1978
Reply by Kretchmer. Rejects idea to initiate a high priority program on the developmental neurobiology of socialization.
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Memo: May 22, 1979

NICHD internal memo to Health Scientist Administrator Dr. James W. Prescott prohibits him from any activity to further research on child abuse.

"Please note the attached memorandum to DRG. Child abuse falls within the NIMH's stated referral guidelines and appears nowhere within NICHD's guideline or mission; therefore, assignment to NICHD is inappropriate."

"I have requested that DRG make no further assignments to HD in child abuse. Further, you are instructed not to program grant applications or contract proposals in this area." -- signed Betty H. Pickett, Ph.D., Acting Director, CRMC (NICHD)
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Memo: June 15, 1979 – Analysis Denied

Prescott updated statistics on infant/child mortality rates for an extended epidemiological study. He then requested permission to use computer time at DCRT for $500 to do additional analysis. Betty H. Pickett of the NICHD denied it. Today (1999) the data is still not analyzed and continuation of studies requested was denied. These denials and rejections occurred despite the NICHD responsibility on epidemiological studies on infant mortality. See 1998 NICHD studies on infant homicide and mortality.
View Prescott's Request
View Pickett's Denial
NICHD Ref. Guidelines of 1978 (Below)

1979.  August 16, 1979

Government memo from S. Stephen Schiaffino, Ph.D. , Deputy Director, DRG (Director of Research Grants) to Dr. James Prescott, NICHD. It establishes that NICHD had an official policy to support research on: "child abuse and the unwanted child." according to the NICHD Referral Guidelines of 1970 and 1973. This language was removed in later editions by Dr. Kretchmer, which permitted Dr. Pickett to state in her memo of May 22 (above) that this subject matter nowhere appears in the Referral Guidelines.

September 1973: NICHD Referral Guidelines. To support work on "child abuse and the unwanted child" and on "social growth".

January 1978: NICHD Referral Guidelines. To support work on:

View Document
View Enclosure: NICHD Ref. Guidel. 1973
View Enclosure: NICHD Ref. Guidel. 1978

1980.  Letter: April 4, 1980

Letter from Thomas E. Malone, Ph.D., Deputy Director, NIH to Dr. Prescott that his complaint to the Secretary, DHEW against Dr. Kretchmer titled "Obstruction of Science and the National Health Interest" has been treated as a personal grievance and not as a formal complaint for violation of Public Laws and which requested a review of the unlawful actions of the Director, NICHD and to take corrective actions by the Secretary, DHEW, Joseph Califano. This action by the NIH prevented a Departmental review of changed national science policy of the NICHD established by the Congress in Public Law 89-487; and reduced my complaint to one of "personal interest" rather than actions "in support of the Institute's policy and programs".

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1980. Letter: April 25, 1980

NICHD Health Scientist Administrator Dr. James Prescott is removed from service. Reason: "Removal for improper use of official position and resources to promote research on 'Developmental Origins of Violence' and 'Child Abuse and Neglect', subjects that are not within the mission of the NICHD, as part of the program of this institute."

On the same paper the exact name and location of Prescott's employing office is shown: "PHS, National Institute of Health, National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development, Center for Research for Mothers and Children, Human Learning & Behavior BR"
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Letter: April 18, 1980

Letter of Leona H. Egeland, Chairwoman, Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health and Welfare, California State Assembly, to Senator Alan Cranston. About "a serious problem that appears to have developed within the National Institute of Health."
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Letter: Feb. 19, 1980

NICHD Acting Director Pickett's reply to Senator Alan Cranston, Chairman, Subcommittee on Child and Human Development, United States Senate. Stating: "The NICHD has never supported a program of research on child abuse and neglect."
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1980.  Letter: July 11, 1980

Letter of John Money, Professor of Medical Psychology and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions to Senator Alan Cranston. Statement: "I would like to recommend very strongly that you do not accept Dr. Pickett's statement about research into child abuse and neglect at NICHD at face value, for they do not hold water."
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1979. Publication.

Prescott, J. W. (1979). Alienation of Affection. Psychology Today December.


1980. Publication.

Prescott, J.W. (1980). Somatosensory affectional deprivation (SAD) theory of drug and alcohol use. In:Theories On Drug Abuse: Selected Contemporary Perspectives. Dan J. Lettieri, Mollie Sayers and Helen Wallenstien Pearson,  Eds.) NIDA Research Monograph 30, March 1980. National Institute on Drug Abuse, Department of Health and Human Services. Rockville, MD.

.  Article: March 15, 1980

"The Federal Employee" reports under "NIH Hatchet-Job on Distinguished Scientist" that Prescott as "One of the Government's foremost expert in the field of child abuse soon may be railroaded out of his job...".
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1980.  Article: Oct. 7, 1980

The Washington Child Protection Report, Vol. VI, No. 20 gives a summary of the whole affair. Recommended.
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Letter: February 23, 1981

Letter to DHHS Secretary Richard S. Schweiker from Senator Charles McC. Mathias, Jr stating his concerns: "It is clear that if we are to meet our goal of reducing deaths among young people by 20 percent by 1990, we must identify better ways of bringing violence under control, and we must put our knowledge to work in every community". and "Could you inform me of the nature and level of NICHD support for basic research into child abuse and neglect and into the developmental origins of violence?
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1981.  Letter: May 11, 1981

Letter to Senator McC Mathias, Jr. from DHHS Secretary Richard S. Schweiker (some 3 months later) presenting the level of support of child abuse and neglect research by the NICHD, yet stating: "The NICHD has never supported a program of research on child abuse and neglect".

Child abuse and neglect (failure of affectional bonding) results in traumatic brain injury that has yet to be studied by the NICHD and other federal agencies utilizing MRI and fMRI brain scans and compared to children and young adults who have been breastfed for "two years or longer" with no history of child abuse and neglect.
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1982. Address, October 26. . Invited Address C. Everett Koop, M.D., PHS Surgeon General and Deputy Assistant Secretary For Health, American Academy of Pediatrics:  Violence and Public Health

,  Prescott, J.W. (1983). Invited Address: The Quadrune Brain: Cerebellar Regulation of  Emotional Behaviors. European Seminar on Developmental Neurology.    Institute fuer  Kindesentwicklung, GmbH. Hamburg, Germany February 14-17,  1983.

1990. Publication

Prescott, J.W. (l990): Affectional bonding for the prevention of violent behaviors:  Neurobiological, Psychological and Religious/Spiritual Determinants. In Violent  Behavior Vol. I: Assessment and Intervention. (L.J. Hertzberg, et. al., Eds).  PMA   Publishing NY pp. 110-14


1992 SSSS. Address: Brain Sexual Dimorphism: Cerebellar-Frontal Cortical Connectivity

Prescott, J.W. (1992). Sexual Dimorphism in the Developing Human Brain: Evidence from Lateral Skull X-Rays. Presented in Symposium: "Genes, Hormones and Sexual Behavior"  R.T.Francoeur, Chairman). The Society For The Scientific  Study of Sex. 1992 Annual Meeting. San Diego, CA  November 12-15. Hilton Beach and Tennis Resort.


1994. Letter: July 7, 1994

The White House, Washington. Letter by George R. Stephanopoulos, Senior Advisor to the President for Policy and Strategy, to James Prescott: "Your findings on this topic should prove beneficial to how our society perceives growing children." This letter was the only reaction after the White House received documentation of Prescott's work a month before.
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1994.  Publication of the "Report of the Panel on NIH Research on Antisocial, Aggressive, and Violence-Related Behaviors and their Consequences", Panel Meetings in June and September 1993. (Participant Dr J. W. Prescott, BioBehavioral Systems, San Diego, CA. He presented this testimony.)

Excerpts of the NIH 1994 Report:

a) NIH Panel Findings and Recommendations: "Violence constitutes the second leading cause of death for youth in America, and it poses a health risk for persons of all ages." (Further Panel Findings and Recommendations)

b) The NIH RESEARCH PORTFOLIO: "With the exception of the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH), violence research has not been a major priority at NIH (25)". View Page 75.

c) "In fiscal 1992 the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development spent about $8.9 million on research related to violence (33) (...) Other ongoing research projects focus on such things as self-injurious behavior, aggressive behavior in children and adolescents, the effect of domestic violence on young children (child abuse), and intervention to lower violence-related morbidity and mortality among minority youth." View Page 76.

d) Appendix F: "devoting as much money to peace studies as to studies of violence" (46) This is the only reference to Dr. Prescott's extensive testimony. No mention of history of NICHD research on child abuse and neglect nor developmental origins of violence. View Page 121.

e) Summary September 22-24, 1993 meeting: 2nd paragraph: "To date, investment across all Institutes and ICDs in violence-related research has been minuscule relative to the total NIH budget (i.e.0.5%)." View Page 138.

1996. Publication.

Prescott, J.W. (1996). The Origins of Human Love and Violence. Pre- and Perinatal  Psychology Journal. 10(3):143-188.Spring.


Prescott, J.W. (2003). Our Two Cultural Brains: Neurointegrative and Neurodissociative  that are formed by Pain and Pleasure Life Experiences encoded in the  Developing Brain

2005. Publication.

Prescott, J.W.(2005): Prevention Or Therapy And The Politics of Trust: Inspiring a New Human Agenda. in: Psychotherapy and Politics International .(3(3):194-211, John  Wiley & Sons, Ltd.



 Prescott, J.W. 2013). Perspective 6. Nurturant Versus Nonnurturant Environements and  the Failure of the Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness.(pp.427-438). In:  Evolution,  Early Experience and Human Development, (Darcia Narvaez,  Jaak Panksepp, Allan N. Schore and Tracy R. Gleason, Eds). Oxford University Press. Oxford. New York


The above Chronology of NICHD Research Activities on Child Abuse and Neglect, established by an Act of Congress (PL  87-838), on October 17, 1962 to its termination on April 11, 1980  by the unlawful termination of Dr. James W. Prescott, as Health Scientist Administrator, Developmental Behavioral Program, NICHD who created and led the Child Abuse Research Program, NICHD is provided for those who are interested in why child abuse/ neglect and violence continues today as  "one of the most extensive and chronic epidemics in the Public Health of this country." (Surgeon General Koop (October 26, 1982).

1980. Publication. COSMOS. Carl Sagan

Chapter Xiii.  Who Speaks for Earth and Commentary by Ann Druyan
My Commentary:  The failure of homo sapiens to live in Peace and Harmony with each other remains the most urgent problem on our Planet, as recognized by Carl Sagan in Chapter XIII of Cosmos.  This failure dooms any dreams that may exist about the COSMOS and anticipated space travel. Species extinction is a real possibility and  I trust that this possibility will be reviewed in the current TV Program on COSMOS II. Carl and Ann's concerns about the future of Humanity requires a statement of reality. --JWP  12 March 2014..

James W. Prescott, Ph.D.