Study reveals that Mother’s love and support can boost child’s brain growth

Do you love and support your child? Chances are that your child’s brain is developing better than those neglected. Studies have revealed what has long been suspected – A mother’s love and support can boost a child’s brain growth. This was shown to be particularly true for kids under the age of 6. This report by the Daily Telegraph has all the details –Motherly love and nurturing can help babies' brains grow at twice the rate of neglected youngsters, a study has shown.Although it is known that a loving, stable home life improves overall childhood development, this is the first research to show it has a significant impact on brain size.Children who received the most support from their mothers before school were found to have more growth in the hippocampus, which is associated with learning, memories and regulating emotions.Crucially, those youngsters who were more neglected when they were under six did not catch up, even when their mothers became more supportive in later years."This study suggests there's a sensitive period when the brain responds more to maternal support," said first author Dr Joan Luby, Washington University child psychiatrist at St Louis Children's Hospital."The parent-child relationship during the preschool period is vital, even more important than when the child gets older. We think that's due to greater plasticity in the brain when kids are younger, meaning that the brain is affected more by experiences very early in life. That suggests it's vital that kids receive support and nurturing during those early years."The study followed 127 children from when they were about to start school to early adolescence, scanning their brains throughout.The researchers measured nurturing in mothers by closely observing and scoring videotaped interactions between them and their children. Parents who were able to maintain composure and complete assigned tasks while still offering emotional support to their children were rated as more nurturing and supportive.After examining the brain scans, researchers found that the children whose mothers were graded as more supportive than average had increases in growth of the hippocampus more than two times greater than those children whose mothers were rated only slightly below average on the nurturing scale.The researchers also found that the growth trajectory in the hippocampus was associated with healthier emotional functioning when the children entered their teen years."Early maternal support affects the child's brain development," concluded Dr Luby.The study is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.This post is from here.