The new research was presented at the 34th Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego
Insight into one potential mechanism comes from studies showing how maternal care can induce alterations in gene methylation in offspring. Other new research is uncovering how stresses during pregnancy and early life can affect learning and memory, as well as immune function, much later in life, long after the stress has disappeared. Still other studies are unraveling the cellular basis for how early life stresses can lead to later cognitive impairment, the effects of using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac during early development on the emotional behavior of adult mice, and how experience--hunting in the case of barn owls--can dramatically increase adult animals' adaptability to new stimuli. Together, these studies point to exciting new approaches for potentially lessening or preventing these long-term changes that can lead to disease or psychopathologies.
Stresses such as neglect and abuse during infancy may result in memory loss and impaired cognitive abilities that manifest later in life, a University of California , Irvine, study has found. The study, conducted in rats, clearly shows a late onset and slow progression of deficits in communication between brain cells in the hippocampus, a brain region involved in learning, storage, and recall of memories.
Kristen Brunson, a senior member of Tallie Z. Baram's group, and her colleagues, found that limiting the nesting material in cages where neona
Contact: Leah Ariniello
Society for Neuroscience