In a study led by Tallie Baram, MD, PhD, University of California at Irvine, intense maternal care of rat pups resulted in brain chemistry and gene expression changes yielding lowered vulnerability to stress events by those pups. Those beneficial changes continued throughout the adult life of the experimental cohort of rat pups compared to the control group cohort in the study.
Dr. Baram, quoted in the December 12, 2013 edition of, "Science Daily", comments:
"The findings show a direct casual effect of sensory input from the mother on the function of stress handling throughout life, and pinpoint the molecular changes involved. They also show plasticity of the wiring on the infant brain."
Applications to Us:
In humans, there is abundant research showing that children raised in a loving and supportive two-parent family are on average happier, healthier, and emotionally better adjusted compared to children raised in single parent families.
One possible contributor to this disparity could be that time and energy are often in short supply in single parent families. Single parents often experience higher levels of stress due to financial and other pressures compared to two-parent families.
What's the lesson? When we take charge of our own stress and give children as much love and attention as we can, we're giving a gift that truly keeps on giving throughout our children's lives.
Click HERE to read the "Science Daily" report on Dr. Baram's research.
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