Navigation Links
Memory Forms at 30 Weeks in the Womb
Date:7/15/2009

Study finds fetuses showed short-term memory of 10 minutes at this stage in development

WEDNESDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- Fetuses that are only 30 weeks old may already possess short-term memory, Dutch researchers report.

"This is the next step into a better insight in the development of the fetal central nervous system," said study co-author Dr. Jan G. Nijhuis, director of the Centre for Genetics, Reproduction and Child Health at Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands. "We aim to develop an 'intra-uterine neurologic examination,' which could then be used in fetuses at risk."

Although memory is thought to develop while the baby is still in the womb, little else is known about the phenomenon.

"It is a fairly new idea to look at whether learning occurs in utero," said Dr. Russell Fothergill, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and director of ambulatory care at Scott & White.

The authors recruited 93 pregnant Dutch women, and then measured fetal responses to repeated "vibroacoustic" stimulation. Their report appears in the July/August issue of Child Development.

"We used a vibroacoustic stimulator, which leads to a combined stimulus of vibration and sound," Nijhuis explained. "The stimuli were applied to the maternal abdomen above the fetal legs for a period of one second every 30 seconds. We counted the number of stimuli after which the fetus does not respond anymore."

When the fetus makes the change to no longer responding, it is "habituated"; it recognizes the stimulus as "safe."

The authors stated that habituation is a form of learning and needs an intact central nervous system.

"In its simplest form, [habituation] is related to how we think about humans learning," Fothergill said.

According to background information in the paper, the first study to look at fetal habituation took place in 1925 and involved repeated honking of a car horn. Since then, similar studies have been conducted with electric toothbrushes and door buzzers, as well as the vibroacoustic stimulator.

In this study, fetuses were exposed to the vibroacoustic stimulation at 30, 32, 34, 36 and 38 weeks' gestation.

Fetuses as young as 30 weeks demonstrated a short-term memory of 10 minutes, and fetuses at 34 weeks seemed able to remember information they stored four weeks prior, the authors stated.

The level of stimulation the fetuses in this study received appears relatively high, another expert stated.

"I'm almost certain the baby heard it quite clearly and it was probably pretty loud," said Dr. Richard O. Jones, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and medical director of obstetrics at Scott & White. "I almost wish I could do an ultrasound looking at the baby while they were making these loud noises. I would not be at all surprised to see the baby putting its hands over its ears."

And, of course, doctors routinely used different forms of stimulation to make sure a baby is alive and, literally, "kicking" while still in the womb.

"One of the things we do to monitor the health of a pregnancy is to have the mother count the baby's kicks. We like to see 10 movements in a two-hour period and most moms get 10 movements in about 20 minutes, especially if they time it after dinner," Jones said.

After reading this study, he added, if a mother complains that her baby isn't moving enough, one of the things he might suggest is turning the volume down.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on fetal development.



SOURCES: Jan G. Nijhuis, M.D., Ph.D., head, department of obstetrics and gynecology, and director, Centre for Genetics, Reproduction and Child Health, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Maastricht, the Netherlands; Russell Fothergill, M.D., assistant professor, obstetrics and gynecology, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and director, ambulatory care, Scott & White; Richard O. Jones, M.D., assistant professor, obstetrics and gynecology, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, and medical director, obstetrics, Scott & White; July/August 2009 Child Development


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Drug rescues memory lost to Alzheimers disease
2. Memory test and PET scans detect early signs of Alzheimers
3. Brown professor continues debate over recovered memory
4. More Evidence That Caffeine Can Jolt Memory
5. Caffeine reverses memory impairment in Alzheimers mice
6. On Memory, Older Americans Outsmart the English
7. Sleep May Be Essential for Long-Term Memory
8. Transplant drug stimulates immune memory
9. Generation of a severe memory-deficit mutant mouse by exclusively eliminating the kinase activity of CaMKIIalpha
10. Depression may increase Alzheimers risk in people with memory problems
11. Penn study demonstrates new way to boost immune memory
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Memory Forms at 30 Weeks in the Womb
(Date:1/21/2017)... , ... January 21, 2017 , ... ... its new medical office in Petaluma, located at 167 Lynch Creek Way. The ... to SRO sports medicine and rehabilitation services and on-site x-ray services. ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... , ... A new partnership between Goodwill® and Roadie, Inc. aims to make ... clothes to couches to dressers and bicycles. Roadie — the national on-the-way delivery network ... donation center through February 28th. , “January is an exciting time when resolutions ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... , ... Bionic Sports Nutrition LLC, an American company devoted to developing high-quality ... January ECRM Trade Show in Hilton Head, SC. , Bionic Sports Nutrition manufactures ... its products to all clients at reasonable prices. At the ECRM trade show, it ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... ... Michael and Betsy Brauser celebrated 5 years of Betsy’s participation in a ... has been life-saving as she has been on the trial for more than six ... ovarian cancer in 2009. She underwent standard chemotherapy but a year later went to ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... , ... “The Angel”: a heartwarming and earnest tale of faith and ... children. “The Angel” is the creation of published author, Marjorie Lund-Fontaine, a former professional ... writer. , When asked of her new book, Marjorie says, “‘The Angel’ was written ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... RATON, Fla. , Jan. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... a medical device company specializing in the treatment ... such as keloids, with superficial radiation therapy, today ... and full year 2016 financial results on Thursday, February ... The Company will hold a conference call with ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... LEXINGTON, Massachusetts , January 19, 2017 ... SHPG ) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug ... resubmission of a New Drug Application (NDA) for SHP465, ... being evaluated as a potential once-daily treatment for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity ... decision on or around June 20, 2017, the designated ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... -- Pfizer joins Astex, AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, ...   Major research investment to work ...   The Milner Therapeutics Institute today announces ... partner to the Milner Therapeutics Consortium. Pfizer has agreed ... of materials between industry and academia and allocation of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: