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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

Check out the big brain on Mommy



brain.jpgWell there goes my handy excuse for forgetfulness, the National Institute of Mental Health reports that motherhood may actually cause the brain to grow, not turn it into mush, as we've been led to believe. The brains of new mothers bulked up in areas linked to motivation and behavior, and that mothers who gushed the most about their babies showed the greatest growth in key parts of the mid-brain.

Oh great, another excuse for new moms to bore us to tears about their super advanced babies. I know I was one of them, but that doesn't make it any less annoying.

But I will say I so liked this: The motivation to take care of a baby, and the hallmark traits of motherhood, might be less of an instinctive response and more of a result of active brain building, neuroscientists Craig Kinsley, PhD, and Elizabeth Meyer, PhD, wrote in a special commentary in the same journal issue.

Take that, you sitcom writers! The researchers found that the volume of the mothers' grey matter increased in various parts of the brain – sizable increases rarely seen in adults. According to the researchers, grey matter doesn’t usually grow that fast without significant learning.

I do feel like I took a crash course, Ph.D. level, in child development upon having kids. But I'm skeptical that there wasn't a loss somewhere to compensate for it. And if I could just find my car keys I'd drive over the library and research it. Where'd I park the car again?

--Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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[Last modified: Wednesday, October 27, 2010 11:35am]


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