Shocking Scans Show The Real Impact of Love on a Child’s Brain
Mother’s care could do more than just keep a child comfortable. It may affect how large his or her brain grows.
Shocking: According to neurologists the sizeable difference between these two brains has one primary cause – the way were treated by their mothers
Both of these images are brain scans of a two three-year-old children, but the brain on the left is considerably larger, has fewer spots and less dark areas, compared to the one on the right.
According to neurologists this sizeable difference has one primary cause – the way each child was treated by their mothers.
But the child with the shrunken brain was the victim of severe neglect and abuse.
According to research reported by the newspaper, the brain on the right worryingly lacks some of the most fundamental areas present in the image on the left.
The consequences of these deficits are pronounced – the child on the left with the larger brain will be more intelligent and more likely to develop the social ability to empathise with others.
But in contrast, the child with the shrunken brain will be more likely to become addicted to drugs and involved in violent crimes, much more likely to be unemployed and to be dependent on state benefits.
The child is also more likely to develop mental and other serious health problems.
Professor Allan Schore, of UCLA, told The Sunday Telegraph that if a baby is not treated properly in the first two years of life, it can have a fundamental impact on development.
It also seems that the more severe the mother’s neglect, the more pronounced the damage can be.
The images also have worrying consequences for the childhood neglect cycle – often parents who, because their parents neglected them, do not have fully developed brains, neglect their own children in a similar way.
But research in the U.S. has shown the cycle can be successfully broken if early intervention is staged and families are supported.
Lead author Joan L. Luby, MD, professor of child psychiatry, said the study reinforces how important nurturing parents are to a child’s development.
[SOURCE: PNAS February 21, 2012 vol. 109 no. 8 2854-2859]