Neurobiology of Motherhood

The hormonal changes that young female mammals including human girls undergo in late childhood and adolescence help them to prepare for the role of mother. Birth and breast feeding trigger further changes.

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Serotonin Transporter Gene

The study by Frodl and co-workers compared hospital in-patients with major depression with healthy controls, and found that those who had two copies of one variant of the serotonin transporter gene and who reported stress in early childhood were more likely to develop depression.

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Dynamic DNA Methylation

This study has shown through experiments in mice that stress in early life can cause epigenetic changes to the genes for two stress hormones

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Glucocorticoid Receptor

This paper suggests that severe trauma in childhood can cause long-term changes to DNA that lead to changes in the stress response making the victim more vulnerable to stress in later life.

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Hippocampal Volumes

The hippocampus is a region of the brain involved in memory and regulation of emotion and stress. Maternal support in early childhood predicts laregrhippocampal  volume in school age chilodren.

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Hippocampal Development

Abuse and neglect in early childhood causes a stress response in which a hormone, corticosterone, is released, and this affects the development of the growing brain

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Fathers' reaction to Oxytocin

Fathers of pre-school children show a particular pattern of brain activity when shown pictures of their own children that is different to that seen with pictures of other children of similar ages and the same sex.

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