-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, Aug. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Children of mothers with
depression have an enlarged amygdala, the part of the brain
associated with emotional responses, Canadian researchers have
The team used MRI scans to examine the brains of 10-year-old
children of mothers who've had symptoms of depression throughout
The results suggest that children's brains are sensitive to the
quality of care they receive, the University of Montreal
The study authors noted that previous studies found similar
changes in the brains of children who were adopted by families
after being initially raised in orphanages.
The amygdala assigns emotional significance to information and
events and plays a role in how we respond to potential risks,
according to background information provided in a university news
"We do not know if the enlargement that we have observed is the result of long-term exposure to lower quality care. But we show that growing up with a depressed mother is associated with enlarged amygdala," Dr. Sonia Lupien and colleagues said in the news release.
The findings, published online Aug. 15 in the journal
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, strongly suggest "that the brain may be highly responsive to the environment during early development and confirms the importance of early intervention to help children facing adversity," Lupien said.
"Initiatives such as prenatal and infancy nurse home visits and enriched day care environments could mitigate the effects of parental care on the developing brain," she added.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about
motherhood and mood.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing. All rights reserved.