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Unexpected parental behavior may impair optimal brain circuit formation – Neuroscience News

Summary: Unexpected parental behavior and environment disrupt the optimal development of the brain’s emotional circuits during a child’s development, increasing the risk of mental health disorders and substance abuse later in life.

source: University of California Irvine

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine are pioneering research into the concept that unexpected parenting behaviors, combined with an unpredictable environment, such as a lack of routine and frequent disasters, disrupt the optimal development of children’s emotional brain circuit, increasing their vulnerability to mental illness. and drug abuse.

In an article published online today in Sciences, Tally Z. Bram, interview author and UCSD Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Anatomy, Neuroscience, Pediatrics, Neuroscience, Physiology, and Biophysics; Matthew T. Bernie, first author, a UCI postdoctoral researcher, describes principles of emotional brain circuit formation gleaned from animal studies, and their impact on children’s cognitive development and mental health.

This perspective starts from the basic principles of how the brain’s sensory – auditory and visual – and motor circuits are created and refined, and we apply them to the emotional circuits that govern behaviors related to reward, stress, and fear.

It is not only the parents’ positive or negative cues, but also the patterns of these behaviors, especially their predictability or unpredictability, that are associated with negative outcomes such as poor emotional control in later life. The latter are indicators of a higher risk of mental illness, PTSD, and substance abuse.

The formation of brain sensory circuits involves an initial stage of actions that are driven by genetic and molecular factors, including neuronal migration and the establishment of synapses.

Complex emotional and cognitive human behavior involves many decisions and actions and is also carried out by brain circuits.

These high-order circuits include the interactions of the prefrontal cortical areas, the thalamic nuclei, the hippocampus, the amygdala, the hypothalamic nucleus, and the subcortical regions of the brain.

They receive numerous streams of information that enhance the activity of neurons in the circuits. This activity is required to mature components and improve integrative communications.

In early life, as these emotional circuits develop, parents are the proximate primary environment: understanding the source of information that influences the maturation of a child’s brain.

Studies of dam-bred mice displaying unexpected behavioral sequences (but the same overall amount of nurturing) during the early postnatal period show that maternal behaviors influence synaptic connectivity in major brain ganglia, including those that contribute to stress.

Research involving infants and children suggests that unexpected patterns of maternal behavior are associated with subsequent deficits in controlling impulses and behaviors.

Abstract depiction of unexpected chaotic patterns of sensory cues from parents and the environment. UCI studies suggest that such patterns are not ideal for developing the stable, repetitive connections between brain cells, which are essential for mental and cognitive health. Credit: College of Medicine / UCI

These effects persist even after correcting for other early life variables such as the mother’s sensitivity to the infant’s needs, socioeconomic status, and maternal depressive symptoms.

“What’s important about this research is that it identifies new targets for the intervention and helps us think about measures we can put in place to support the development of mentally and cognitively healthy children,” Bram said.

“Unpredictability is actionable, because we can aim to inform and educate parents, caregivers, and others about the importance of predictable cues and environments for the maturation of infant and child brains.”

see also

This shows a happy baby

Bram and her team continue to build on their research at UCI Conte. We conduct mechanistic studies in experimental rodents and monitor infants, children and adolescents at the center. We are now ready to test our discoveries on a large scale, “real” search.

About this neurodevelopment and behavioral neuroscience research news

author: press office
source: University of California Irvine
Contact: Press Office – UC Irvine
picture: Image credited to School of Medicine / UCI

original search: Access closed.
“Principles of emotional brain circuit maturation” by Tallie Z. Baram et al. Sciences


Principles of emotional maturity of the brain circuit

The mammalian brain is organized into divided overlapping circuits, and a wide range of information focused on the maturation of the sensory (visual and auditory) and motor circuits. However, little is known about the maturational principles of ’emotional’ brain circuits, including those that govern behaviors related to reward, stress, and fear.

Evidence suggests that sensory input from the environment during a sensitive period in early postnatal life has important effects on the development of the emotional circuit, just as negative or positive images, smells, and sounds influence feelings and actions in adulthood.

The causes of mental and substance use disorders lie in the disruption of emotional circuits. Therefore, enhanced recognition of the principles guiding the development of these circuits is important for understanding human health.

2022-06-02 20:56:50

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