The presence of the mother relieves the pain in a child who is suffering.
And this would happen because the activity of genes in the part of the brain that manages emotions is altered. This is the result of a new study by the New York University School of Medicine (USA).
The experiment analyzed the activity of genes in the brains of newborn rats when the mother was present and when she was absent.
The researchers found that several hundred genes were more or less active in small rats while in pain than in those without pain. But in the presence of their mothers, there were fewer than 100 active genes.
According to researcher and neurobiologist Regina Sullivan, this is the first research showing the short-term effects of maternal care on a newborn's brain who is suffering.
"Our study shows that a mother when she comforts her baby who is in pain not only elicits a behavioral response, but also modifies the neural circuits involved in brain development," Sullivan says.
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This research is important because to a little one who is suffering you cannot give opiate drugs, too dangerous due to their addictive properties and it is therefore essential to find alternative systems and one of these could be the maternal presence or other signs of its presence such as the smell of the mother.
Sullivan warns that the strong and reassuring presence of the mother, in addition to having a short-term benefit in moments of pain of the little ones, it also has important long-term benefits.
"The more we learn about how a child's brain grows in infancy, the better prepared we will be to deal with the long-term problems that result from pain and experiences of physical and mental abuse in childhood." Sullivan concludes.
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