When newborn babies are under stress, their brains show a heightened response to pain, a new study has found. However, you’d never know it from the way those infants act. The findings reported in Current Biology on November 30 show that stress leads to an apparent disconnect between babies’ brain activity and their behavior. “When […]

Pain is Overlooked in Premature Infants

Premature infants receiving intensive care are exposed to a great deal of pain, and this pain causes damage to the child. In spite of this, half of the infants admitted to neonatal intensive units will not receive any pain relief, according to a new European study published today in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. Mats Eriksson, […]

Study Helps Researchers Predict if Babies Will be Psychopaths

For the first time, psychiatrists have discovered that it is possible to predict at just five weeks old whether babies will develop “callous-unemotional” traits by checking if they prefer to look at a human face or a red ball. Children with callous-unemotional (CU) traits are defined as showing impaired emotion recognition, reduced responsiveness to others’ […]

What Poverty Does to the Young Brain

The brain’s foundation, frame, and walls are built in the womb. As an embryo grows into a fetus, some of its dividing cells turn into neurons, arranging themselves into layers and forming the first synapses, the organ’s electrical wiring. Four or five months into gestation, the brain’s outermost layer, the cerebral cortex, begins to develop […]

The Cycle of Abuse Can be Broken with Confidence in Parenting

According to a new study, published online in the journal Child Maltreatment, mothers who experienced more kinds of abuse as children — sexual abuse, physical or emotional abuse, and physical or emotional neglect — have higher levels of self-criticism, and therefore greater doubt in their ability to be effective parents. These beliefs can manifest in […]

Premature Babies More Likely to Have Emotional Problems as Adults

Infants born at very low weight or more than five weeks early are more likely to become introverted. According to a new study, published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, children who were born very prematurely or were very underweight at birth are at risk of growing up to become introverted, neurotic and […]

Two Studies Identify Routes to Better Outcomes for Infants Born Prematurely

Two new longitudinal studies that appear in the journal Child Development offer insights on how to decrease the problems associated with premature birth. In the first study, researchers in Israel found that early positive caregiving can reduce risks associated with preterm birth. In the second study, researchers in Norway identified an intervention associated with better […]

Shy Babies Need Secure Parent Bond to Help Prevent Teen Anxiety

According to a new study co-authored at the University of Waterloo, shy babies need to have a strong bond with their parents to avoid developing anxiety disorders in their teens. Young children who react with behavioral inhibition or shyness to new situations have an increased risk of internalizing problems as they grow older. “But with […]

Stressed Mothers May Have ‘Moody’ Babies

If women are overly stressed or anxious during pregnancy, their babies stand a higher risk of developing emotional issues such as depression, or cognitive problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Singapore scientists who studied 189 infants and their mothers found that the sadder or more anxious the women were during pregnancy, the thinner […]

Social Anxiety in Adolescents Predicted by Infant Bonding

Behavioral inhibition in early childhood is associated with social anxiety in adolescence, but only among youth who were anxiously attached to their parents as infants. A new longitudinal study conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland in collaboration with researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health and the University of Waterloo appears in Child […]