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Parenting with Presence, Empathy, Attention, Compassion and Embodiment  www.momfulness.org
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Mom’s love good for child’s brain | Washington University in St. Louis

Mom’s love good for child’s brain | Washington University in St. Louis | Momfulness | Scoop.it

Mom's love good for Children's Brains

School-age children whose mothers nurtured them early in life have brains with a larger hippocampus, a key structure important to learning, memory and response to stress. 

The new research, by child psychiatrists and neuroscientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is the first to show that changes in this critical region of children’s brain anatomy are linked to a mother’s nurturing. 


Read Summary here. Read full text: Maternal support in early childhood predicts larger hippocampal volumes at school age

Dr. Amy Fuller's insight:

The importance of maternal nurtuing has been long proven for rats and primates, and now we know that children who experience nurturing in their early years have a larger hippocampus, by 10%. This is actually a followup study on a study on depression in preschoolers when they were ages 3 to 5. Brain images of these same children were taken when they were between 7 and 10. They evaluated the degree of maternal nuturance when the children were younger and compared the results to the brain imaging. .  This  study suggests a clear link between nurturing and the size of the hippocampus. 

What's the hippocampus? One of the most important parts of the human brain especially since it sits right in the middle of our animal brain (limbic system) which is involved in managing emotion, threat detection, behavior, motivation and memory.  Amy Fuller PhD


Hat tip to Donald Cooper for posting this on the Achieve Balance Linked Group


Read Summary here. Read full text: Maternal support in early childhood predicts larger hippocampal volumes at school age

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The Neuroscience of Calming a Baby

The Neuroscience of Calming a Baby | Momfulness | Scoop.it

The Neuroscience of Calming a Baby

New study explains why babies calm down when they are carried.

Every parent and caregiver knows from first hand experience that babies calm down when they are picked up, gently rocked, and carried around the room. New research published in the journal Current Biology on April 18, 2013 shows that this is a universal phenomenon. Infants experience an automatic calming reaction when they are being carried, whether they are mouse pups or human babies.

Dr. Amy Fuller's insight:

According to this study, when a baby is held a calming response is experienced in the parasympatheic nervous system and a part of the brain called the cerebellum. The cerebellum sits at the very back and bottom of our brains and manages things like breathing, heart rate, balance and movement. 

  • Although the cerebellum is only 10% of brain volume it holds over 50% of your brain's neurons. Neuroscientists are perplexed by everything that the cerebellum does. This study offers one more valuable clue. 
  • Scientists have known for years that the cerebellum is directly linked to a feedback loop with the vagus nerve which keeps heart rate slow and gives you grace under pressure. As adults, we can calm ourselves by practicing mindfulness and Loving-Kindness Meditation which puts the cerebellum at peace and creates a parasympathetic response of well being. This appears to be the same response that occurs in infants when they are being carried. 
I would like to know what happens in the adult brain when a baby is held and calmed...most likely the same thing.  
The Neuroscience of Calming a Baby
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Curated by Dr. Amy Fuller
Dr. Amy Fuller, Marriage & Family Therapist passionate about healing & empowering a fuller life through Relational, Emotional, Mental & Spiritual Health/Growth. www.AmyFullerPhd.com