Love Makes Your Baby’s Brain Bigger… Neglect, Abuse and Trauma Kill Billions of Brain Cells, Neurologist Says

Love is the driving force in humanity making us better people, and this is not only a statement but already confirmed by neurologists.

The X-ray images of two toddlers showed that the one that received love and good care had better developed brain than the one of a neglected child. The X-ray of the 3-year-old child had double the size of brain than of an abused child. This child was being brought up by a caregiver that offered to it great care, love and respect. In the case of the abused, ignored and neglected child the X-ray was completely different.

In the article released by the Telegraph in 2012, the child with the smaller size of the brain will become a less intelligent adult not having the ability to empathize with other human beings thus becoming more susceptible to drugs and violent behavior. In addition to this, it may develop mental and other serious health issues. These images are clear indication of how important is the interaction between the baby and the mother for the growth of the baby’s brain.

According to the well-established neurologist in this field, Allan Schore, UCLA psychiatry professor, the growth of the brain of the baby literally needs positive interaction between the mother and infant so that the cerebral circuits are properly being developed. He maintains that the first two years of baby’s life are very important for the brain development as 80% of brain cells in a person are manufactured during that period.

Schore explains that the brain develops in the baby from the beginning of the third trimester of pregnancy and if there are positive experiences it will double in size to the 24th month of life. After its birth, and up to the 2nd birthday, the cells of the brain and their wiring are being established. In this period the connections that are often used are reinforced, and for the others that are rarely used die off.

He says: “cells that fire together wire together and do not die together”. The brain extensively grows in this period and after that it organizes, then disorganizes, then reorganizes, and the massive death of billions of neurons and disconnection of synapses is a part of the growth process of the brain. How the inherited genes will get encoded depends by the produced hormones resulting from the relationship between the infant and mother (or the primary caregiver). Endorphins regulate genes positively, and similarly, but in this case with opposite effect has cortisol, a stress hormone. Therefore, positive environments are very important for healthy development of infants, especially in the first two years of their lives.

Another study that involved 127 children in the age before school time and to early adolescence showed these results. The scans of their brains throughout this period revealed that the love of their mothers helps children’s brains to grow at twice the rate which was not the case with the neglected youngsters.

Dr. Joan Luby, the lead author of this study and a Washington University child psychiatrist at St Louis Children’s Hospital, confirms that there’s a sensitive period when the brain responds more to maternal support. The most valuable period for the development of the child’s brain is the preschool period. The reason for that is that when children are younger the brain is more affected by experiences. Hence, the early life of children is very important for the children to receive the needed love and support in order for healthy and good development of the brain.

Neurologists emphasize the importance of early maternal support or the one of the caregiver so that the brains of children develop accordingly.