How parents (physically) change the shape of their child's brain

3 years ago

I heard (part of) this fascating segment on NPR this morning about orphans' brains and how parents physically shape their child's brain.

You've probably heard the stories from the 1980 and 1990s about the Romanian orphanages and how there were so many children that the nurses barely had time to hold them all. In fact, some children were left in cribs for days. In this segment, they talked about how that lack of attention can actually damage a child's brain - specifically reduced gray and white matter. These children's brains were actually smaller from lack of attention.

There was delayed language, odd behaviors and an inability to bond with adoptive parents. As one neuroscientist (who studied the EEGs of these children) said: "Instead of a 100-watt light bulb, it was a 40-watt light bulb."

It is interesting to note that children adopted by age 2 are mostly likely to develop typical brains thanks to their new family environment of stimulation, attention and love.

Here is the written version of what I heard:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/02/20/280237833/orphans-lonely-beg…

This is an article written by a member of the SheKnows Community. The SheKnows editorial team has not edited, vetted or endorsed the content of this post. Want to join our amazing community and share your own story? Sign up here.
comments

More from parenting

Parenting
by Allison Cooper | 5 hours ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 9 hours ago
Parenting
by Catherine Newman | 10 hours ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 10 hours ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 11 hours ago
Parenting
by Gina Roberts-Grey | 11 hours ago
Parenting
by Zlata Faerman | a day ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | a day ago
Parenting
by Mary Sauer | a day ago
Parenting
by Maria Douglas | 2 days ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 2 days ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 2 days ago
Parenting
by Allison Cooper | 3 days ago
Parenting
by Zlata Faerman | 5 days ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 5 days ago
Parenting
by Jennifer Mattern | 5 days ago