Navigation Links
Babies Really Can Light Up Your Life
Date:2/29/2008

Study shows an infant's face sparks a response in the adult brain

FRIDAY, Feb. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Ever wonder why adults tend to go ga-ga when they see a baby?

Scientists report that sophisticated imaging showed that seeing a baby's face lit up a specific region of the adult brain associated with reward circuitry. This "Christmas tree" effect didn't occur when adults looked at another adult face, suggesting there's a neural basis for protective, nurturing feelings triggered by babies.

And the findings could also shed some light on postnatal depression, which affects some 13 percent of new mothers, the study authors said.

Other experts, however, were divided on the clinical implications of the findings.

"It's interesting that clearly a brain area may be related to an instinctive behavior such as looking at a baby's face," said Paul Sanberg, director of the University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair. "I think [the study authors] are right that this could [be related to] an underlying brain mechanism of postnatal depression, where this part of the brain may be altered and could effect the ability of mothers to respond to infants' cues."

But Dr. Jonathan Friedman, assistant professor of surgery and neuroscience and experimental therapeutics at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, was a bit more cautious when discussing the findings' significance.

"It's an interesting finding without question -- it's never been recorded before," said Friedman, who is also director of the Texas Brain and Spine Institute in College Station. "It's not known if it [the new study] will have clinical significance."

In the 19th century, famed naturalist Charles Darwin noticed that something about infants caused adults to respond instinctively and care for them. In his paradigm, this increased the chances that one's own genes would endure.

And Nobel Prize-winning 20th century zoologist Konrad Lorenz suggested that it was facial structure that prompted these nurturing responses in adults.

But the biological or neural basis for this phenomenon has yet to be explained -- until, perhaps, now.

Using an imaging technique called magnetoencephalography, scientists led by researchers at the University of Oxford in England scanned the faces of 12 adults as they looked at images of 13 infant and 13 adult faces. The study participants had never seen the images before. The faces were matched for emotional content, attractiveness and other features.

Brain activity started in the medial orbitofrontal cortex region of the brain within one-seventh of a second after seeing infant faces, but not adult faces. The responses were considered too rapid to be consciously controlled.

This region of the brain has been implicated in reward behavior; it also appears to be involved in visual object recognition. And depression has been linked to another region of the brain -- the subgenual cingulate cortex -- that is connected to the medial orbitofrontal cortex.

The next step, Sanberg said, would be to see how the adult brain reacts to one's own child. "It could be worth taking this further to see if this is involved in imprinting," he said. "Are there different connections when it's your own child? It's of interest from an evolutionary point of view."

The study results were published Feb. 27 in the journal PLoS ONE.

More information

Harvard University has more on magnetoencephalography.



SOURCES: Paul Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., distinguished professor of neurosurgery and director, University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair, Tampa; Jonathan Friedman, M.D., associate dean, Bryan-College Station campus, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and assistant professor of surgery and neuroscience and experimental therapeutics, Health Science Center College of Medicine, and director, Texas Brain and Spine Institute, College Station; Feb. 27, 2008, PLoS ONE


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Famous Footwear, Dr. Scholls Step Up to Support March for Babies 2008
2. Healthy Start of Southwest Florida Receives Grant From March of Dimes to Assess Needs of Pregnant Women and Babies
3. Local Families Chosen for Ambassador Role for 2008 March for Babies
4. Close ties between parents and babies yield benefits for preschoolers
5. Very Premature Babies Dont Get Follow-Up Care
6. Chemical Linked to Reproductive Harm Is Getting Into Babies From Shampoo, Lotion and Powder, New Study Suggests
7. Many Babies Exposed to Chemicals
8. WalkAmerica Is Now March for Babies
9. Babies With Heart Defects Do Best at Hospitals With Most Experience
10. For babies with heart defects, death risk is far lower at most experienced hospitals
11. More babies born prematurely, new report shows
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Babies Really Can Light Up Your Life
(Date:1/15/2017)... , ... January 15, 2017 , ... The Gravity Vault ... in Radnor, Pennsylvania. As construction wraps up on the 14,000+ square foot climbing gym, ... Vaults sixth location, including three in New Jersey and two in New York. With ...
(Date:1/14/2017)... ... January 13, 2017 , ... According to ... magnesium-rich Mediterranean diet may lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and ... many health and wellness benefits linked to a Mediterranean diet are only some ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... California (PRWEB) , ... January 13, 2017 , ... ... carbohydrates that raise blood sugar levels. Counting carbohydrates is as easy as checking ... the only nutrient that affects blood sugar levels. Despite being sugar-free, proteins can ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... ... ... KOAMTAC ®, Inc., a leading manufacturer of Bluetooth barcode scanners and mobile ... collector at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show (NRF17) held January 15-17 in New ... need for more compact and rugged devices for collecting barcode data paired with a ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... , ... January 13, 2017 , ... An inventor from ... black or brown belt in order to diversify my outfits, so he decided to ... wear. , THE T.O.O.B. enhances the appearance of a belt to allow for quick, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/13/2017)... 2017 Constant research ongoing in the ... contribute to the demand for western blotting technique. The global  ... US$ 551.0 Mn by 2016 end. Developing economies in ... markets for western blotting, whereas North America ... ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... 13, 2017  Alfalfa, cattle, leafy greens and rosy cheeked ... film , which emphasizes the food industry,s shift from response ... COPAN,s Swab Rinse Kit (SRK™) ... sampling process in the wake of the new FDA ... COPAN is expanding the U.S. production of the ...
(Date:1/13/2017)... -- This morning, Stock-Callers.com draws attention to ... at yesterday,s closing bell: Clovis Oncology Inc. (NASDAQ: ... GALE ), and ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... to develop technologies and products that combat debilitating and ... use less and cleaner energy, and provide safer, cleaner ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: