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Chilling Brain  Scans  Show  the  Impact  of  a   Mother's  Love  on  a  Child's  Brain  Size   By  Christine  Hsu    

A shocking  comparison  of  brain  scans  from  two  three-­‐year-­‐old  children   reveals  new  evidence  of  the  remarkable  impact  a  mother's  love  has  on  a   child's  brain  development.     The  chilling  images  reveal  that  the  left  brain,  which  belongs  to  a  normal   3-­‐year-­‐old,  is  significantly  larger  and  contains  fewer  spots  and  dark   "fuzzy"  areas  than  the  right  brain,  which  belongs  to  that  of  a  3-­‐year-­‐old   who  has  suffered  extreme  neglect.     Neurologists  say  that  the  latest  images  provide  more  evidence  that  the   way  children  are  treated  in  their  early  years  is  important  not  only  for   the  child's  emotional  development,  but  also  in  determining  the  size  of   their  brains.     Experts  say  that  the  sizeable  difference  in  the  two  brains  is  primarily   caused  by  the  difference  in  the  way  each  child  was  treated  by  their   mothers.     While  at  first  glance,  the  images  might  indicate  that  the  child  with  the   right  brain  might  have  suffered  a  serious  accident  or  illness,   neurologists  said  that  the  truth  is  that  the  child  with  the  shrunken  brain   was  neglected  and  abused  by  its  mother,  and  the  child  with  the  larger   and  more  fully  developed  brain  was  raised  in  a  loving,  supportive  home   and  was  looked  after  by  its  mother,  according  to  The  Sunday  Telegraph.     Researchers  told  the  UK  newspaper  that  the  image  of  the  brain  scan  on   the  right  shows  that  the  child  lacks  some  of  the  most  fundamental  areas   that  are  present  in  the  image  of  the  brain  scan  on  the  left.     They  say  that  the  child  on  the  left  with  the  larger  brain  will  be  more   intelligent  and  will  be  more  likely  to  develop  the  social  ability  to   empathize  with  others  compared  to  the  child  on  the  right.    


On the  other  hand,  the  child  with  the  smaller  brain  on  the  right  will  be   more  likely  to  become  addicted  to  drugs,  be  involved  in  violent  crimes,   be  unemployed  and  dependent  on  government  benefits  in  the  future.     Furthermore,  the  child  with  the  shrunken  brain  is  significantly  more   likely  to  develop  mental  and  other  serious  health-­‐related  problems.   Professor  Allan  Schore  from  the  University  of  California,  Los  Angeles   (UCLA)  said  that  in  the  first  two  years,  babies  rely  on  a  strong  bond  with   their  mothers  for  healthy  brain  development.     "The  development  of  cerebral  circuits  depends  on  it,"  he  said,  adding   that  because  80  percent  of  brain  cells  grow  in  the  first  two  years  of  life,   problems  in  that  development  can  affect  people  for  the  rest  of  their   lives.     Furthermore,  researchers  said  that  the  more  severe  the  mother's   neglect,  the  more  pronounced  the  brain  damage  can  be.     Researchers  said  the  process  of  childhood  neglect  is  a  vicious  cycle   because  the  parents  of  neglected  children  were  also  neglected  by  their   parents  and  do  not  have  fully  developed  brain.   However,  past  research  has  shown  that  the  cycle  can  be  broken  if  there   is  early  intervention  and  families  are  supported.     The  latest  study  supports  research  released  earlier  this  year  that   showed  that  children  brought  up  by  mothers  who  provide  love  and   affection  early  in  life  are  smarter  and  have  a  greater  capacity  to  learn.     Researchers  at  Washington  University  School  of  Medicine  in  St.  Louis,   found  that  children  whose  mothers  nurtured  them  early  in  life  have  a   larger  hippocampus,  a  key  brain  structure  that  is  essential  to  learning,   memory  and  response  to  stress,  according  to  a  study  published  in  the   Proceedings  of  the  National  Academy  of  Sciences  Early  Edition.  

Profile for Institute for InterGroup Understanding

Chilling brain scans show the impact of a mother  

A shocking comparison of brain scans from two three-year-old children reveals new evidence of the remarkable impact a mother's love has on a...

Chilling brain scans show the impact of a mother  

A shocking comparison of brain scans from two three-year-old children reveals new evidence of the remarkable impact a mother's love has on a...