Hippocampus Benefitted by Nurturing Moms
Children with a large hippocampus are better able to learn, retain information and handle stress by the time they reach school, a new study shows. According to HealthDay News, researchers at Washington University found that mothers can help this area of their child’s brain develop and grow through love and nurturing.
Study author Joan Luby said the research is unique in showing a link between maternal love and intellectual growth.
“It is to our knowledge the first study that links early maternal nurturance to the structural development of a key brain region,” Luby said. “It provides very powerful evidence of the importance of early nurturing for healthy brain development and has tremendous public health implications.”
To reach their conclusions, Luby’s team brought in 92 children between the ages of three and six, and left them in a room with a brightly-colored package. The children were told they could open the gift, but not until their mothers finished filling out some paperwork. Researchers then observed the responses of both the children and their parents.
Mothers who helped their child control their emotions through reassurance or support were rated as nurturing, while those who scolded or ignored their child were rated otherwise, HealthDay said.