Navigation Links
Children of depressed mothers have a different brain
Date:8/15/2011

This release is available in French.

MONTREAL, August 15, 2011 Researchers think that brains are sensitive to the quality of child care, according to a study that was directed by Dr. Sonia Lupien and her colleagues from the University of Montreal published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The scientists worked with ten year old children whose mothers exhibited symptoms of depression throughout their lives, and discovered that the children's amygdala, a part of the brain linked to emotional responses, was enlarged.

Similar changes, but of greater magnitude, have been found in the brains of adoptees initially raised in orphanages. Personalized attention to children's needs may be the key factor. "Other studies have shown that mothers feeling depressed were less sensitive to their children's needs and were more withdrawn and disengaged," explained Drs. Sophie Parent and Jean Sguin of the University of Montreal's, who followed the children over the years.

Scientists have established that the amygdala is involved in assigning emotional significance to information and events, and it contributes to the way we behave in response to potential risks. The need to learn about the safety or danger of new experiences may be greater in early life, when we know little about the world around us. Indeed, studies on other mammals, such as primates, show that the amygdala develops most rapidly shortly after birth. "We do not know if the enlargement that we have observed is the result of long-term exposure to lower quality care. But we show that growing up with a depressed mother is associated with enlarged amygdala."

"Having enlarged amygdala could be protective and increase the probability of survival," Lupien said. The amygdala may be protective through a mechanism that produces stress hormones known as glucocorticoids. The researchers noted that the glucocorticoids levels of the children of depressed mothers who participated in this study increased significantly when they were presented with unfamiliar situations, indicating increased reactivity to stress in those children. Adults who grew up in similar circumstances as these children show higher levels of glucocorticoids and a greater glucocorticoid reaction when participating in laboratory stress tests. "What would be the long term consequences of this increased reactivity to stress is unknown at this point."

Although this study cannot clarify the causes of enlarged amygdala, the researchers note that the adoption studies have also shown that children who were adopted earlier in life and into more affluent families than others did not have enlarged amygdala. "This strongly suggests that the brain may be highly responsive to the environment during early development and confirms the importance of early intervention to help children facing adversity," Lupien said. "Initiatives such as prenatal and infancy nurse home visits and enriched day care environments could mitigate the effects of parental care on the developing brain." Sguin adds, "Future studies testing the effects of these preventive programs and observational studies involving children exposed to maternal depressive symptoms at different ages, and consequently for different lengths of time, should provide more insight into how this occurs, its long term consequences, and how it can be prevented."


'/>"/>

Contact: William Raillant-Clark
w.raillant-clark@umontreal.ca
514-566-3813
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Childrens gardening programs grow environmental stewards
2. Scientists discover why a mothers high-fat diet contributes to obesity in her children
3. Childrens National researchers develop novel anti-tumor vaccine
4. Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital expand national childrens study to Bristol County
5. NIH selects Case Western Reserve University to participate in National Childrens Study
6. Recommendations for childrens exercise lacking say experts
7. UNC study: Text messaging may help children fight off obesity
8. In child care, relationships with caregivers key to childrens stress levels
9. Children distressed by family fighting have higher stress hormones
10. Exercise helps overweight children reduce anger expression
11. Childrens Hospital scientists achieve repair of injured heart muscle in lab tests of stem cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2017)... April 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and ... will feature emerging and evolving technology through its 3D ... will run alongside the expo portion of the event ... and demonstrations focused on trending topics within 3D printing ... and manufacturing event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , April 11, ... biometric identity management and secure authentication solutions, today ... million contract by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity ... technologies for IARPA,s Thor program. "Innovation ... the onset and IARPA,s Thor program will allow ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... No two people are believed to ... York University Tandon School of Engineering and Michigan ... partial similarities between prints are common enough that ... and other electronic devices can be more vulnerable ... in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication systems feature ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... ... electronic informed consent (eConsent) solution that simplifies research studies, accelerates study startup, and ... of Quorum, Q Consent™ is the first and only IRB-integrated eConsent solution ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... ... mass flow controllers based on capillary thermal mass flow technology provide exponentially more ... control applications. Over 80% of all industrial processes—such as those involving chemical ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... The ... Communication Award goes to Jayson Lusk, a consummate communicator who promotes agricultural science ... advocate for science, as he explains how innovation and growth in agriculture are ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... 26, 2017 , ... Looking for gift ideas for mom ... offers one-of-a-kind gifts, ranging from gourmet cooking experiences to Farmer’s Market Tours and ... inspired with new cooking tips and techniques, thanks to Chef Jodi Abel’s expertise ...
Breaking Biology Technology: