Navigation Links
Crying baby draws blunted response in depressed mom's brain
Date:2/22/2011

EUGENE, Ore. -- Mothers who are depressed respond differently to their crying babies than do non-depressed moms. In fact, their reaction, according to brain scans at the University of Oregon, is much more muted than the robust brain activity in non-depressed moms.

An infant crying is normal, but how mothers respond can affect a child's development, says Jennifer C. Ablow, professor of psychology. For years, Ablow has studied the relationship of behavior and physiological responses such as heart rate and respiration of mothers, both depressed and not, when they respond to their infants' crying.

A new study -- online in advance of publication in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience -- provides the first look at brain activity of depressed women responding to recordings of crying infants, either their own or someone else's. The brains of 22 women were scrutinized using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

Non-invasive fMRI, when focused on the brain, measures blood flow changes using a magnetic field and radio frequency pulses, producing detailed images that provide scientists with information about brain activity or help medical staff diagnose disease.

Researchers considered both group differences between women with chronic histories of depression and those with no clinical diagnoses, and more subtle variations in the women's brain activity related to current levels of depressive symptoms. All were first time mothers whose babies were 18 months old.

"It looks as though depressed mothers are not responding in a more negative way than non-depressed mothers, which has been one hypothesis," said Heidemarie K. Laurent, assistant professor at the University of Wyoming, who led the study as a postdoctoral researcher in Ablow's lab. "What we saw was really more of a lack of responding in a positive way."

As a group, brain responses in non-depressed mothers responding to the sound of their own babies' cries were seen on both sides of the brain's lateral paralimbic areas and core limbic sub-cortical regions including the striatum, thalamus and midbrain; depressed mothers showed no unique response to their babies. Non-depressed mothers activated much more strongly than depressed mothers in a subcortical cluster involving the striatum -- specifically the caudate and nucleus accumbens -- and the medial thalamus. These areas are closely associated with the processing of rewards and motivation.

"In this context it was interesting to see that the non-depressed mothers were able to respond to this cry sound as a positive cue," Laurent said. "Their response was consistent with wanting to approach their infants. Depressed mothers were really lacking in that response. "

In a separate comparison, mothers who self-reported that they were more depressed at the time of their fMRI sessions displayed diminished prefrontal brain activity, particularly in the anterior cingulate cortex, when hearing their own baby's cries. This brain region, Laurent said, is associated with the abilities to evaluate information and to plan and regulate a response to emotional cues.

The important message of the study, Ablow and Laurent said, is that depression can exert long-lasting effects on mother-infant relationships by blunting the mother's response to her infant's emotional cues.

"A mother who is able to process and act upon relevant information will have more sensitive interactions with her infant, which, in turn, will allow the infant to develop its own regulation capacities," Ablow said. "Some mothers are unable to respond optimally to their infant's emotional cues. A mother's emotional response requires a coordination of multiple cortical and sub-cortical systems of the brain. How that plays out has not been well known."

The findings may suggest new implications for treating depression symptoms in mothers, Laurent said. "Some of these prefrontal problems may be changed more easily by addressing current symptoms, but there may be deeper, longer-lasting deficits at the motivational levels of the brain that will take more time to overcome," she said.

We regard the findings as a "jumping-off point" to better understand the neurobiology of the mothering brain, said Ablow, co-director of the UO's Developmental Sociobiology Lab. "In our next study, we plan to follow women from the prenatal period through their first-year of motherhood to get a fuller picture of how these brain responses shape mother-infant relationships during a critical period of their babies' development."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jim Barlow
jebarlow@uoregon.edu
541-346-3481
University of Oregon
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Treatment Eases Involuntary Laughing, Crying Tied to Alzheimers, MS
2. Lady Gaga-Inspired Lens Fad Draws Warning From Eye Docs
3. First Annual Observance of World IBD Day Draws Awareness to Growing Global Incidence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease
4. United Therapeutics Corporation Withdraws European Marketing Authorization Application for Tyvaso for the Treatment of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
5. Emotions May Be Blunted in Alzheimers Patients
6. PET scans may allow early prediction of response to targeted therapy of thyroid cancer
7. Novel immune system-based gene therapy induces strong responses in metastatic melanoma, sarcoma
8. Princess Margaret Hospital researchers identify a key enzyme that affects radiation response
9. Stimulating the brains immune response may provide treatment for Alzheimers disease
10. Patent awarded for method to dampen immune response
11. Link between depression and inflammatory response found in mice
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Crying baby draws blunted response in depressed mom's brain
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... May 31, 2016 , ... ... new Concussion Clinic serving South Florida. , The clinic is led by ... pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation, pediatric neuropsychology and also a team of certified ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... Linda, CA (PRWEB) , ... ... ... an approach to healthcare that considers individuals’ genetic characteristics and the physical ... and precision therapy work in sync. In personalized medicine, diagnosing an individual’s ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... 31, 2016 , ... St. Joseph Medical Center (SJMC) announced ... which enables physicians at SJMC’s two hospital campuses, downtown and in the Heights, ... the exchange. SJMC’s membership in the health information exchange underscores the hospital’s commitment ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... May 31, 2016 , ... ... back to particular advertising campaigns, to monitor the performance of sales and support ... maximize conversions and revenue. The software allows customers to record, transcribe, route, document, ...
(Date:5/31/2016)... , ... May 31, 2016 , ... The Global ... today released ten predictions on the future of wellness, travel, spa and beauty in ... travel, spa and beauty companies to leading economists and researchers - to forecast where ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... highlights the necessity of health literacy within the technology advancement of diagnostic imaging. According to ... a majority of oncology patients undergo imaging screenings without understanding the nuanced risks associated ... ... ... Medical Diagnostic Imaging Ampronix ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... May 27, 2016 Hutchison ... company focused on the highly lucrative global oncology ... pipeline of potential first-in-class or best-in-class tyrosine kinase ... development with strategic partners. HCM,s profitable Chinese healthcare ... market. We expect progress of the mid-to-late-stage pipeline ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... NEW YORK , May 27, 2016 ... with biotechs, drug manufacturers, health insurance companies all falling ... very small healthcare companies. While not often talked about, ... The United States is by ... the world. Advanced Medical Isotope Corp. (OTC: ADMD), Nutranomics ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: