Maternal stress kicks in foetal stress-like brain patterns (ADHD, autism)

Dave Bird dave.xemu.deleteThe at nospam.demon.co.uk
Tue Sep 28 15:12:00 EST 2004


 My off-the-wall interpretation: stress conditions in the mother are
 clearly prompting stress-type reactions in the foetal brain.

 ADHD is very like early-stage stress response, which combines high
 levels of arousal and activation with low levels of thought,
 planning, or pleasure: high noradrenaline // low dopamine.

 Autism is like opiate shutdown under extreme stress: the capacity
 to understand people and situations is blocked, in favour of just
 using (or submitting to) force.




News-Medical.Net Link between mother’s stress levels during pregnancy
and the effect on the brain of her unborn baby 
Posted By: News-Medical in Medical Study News 
Published: Monday, 20-Sep-2004 
   Printer Friendly      Email to a Friend
 

An intriguing link between a mother’s stress levels during pregnancy and
the effect on the brain of her unborn baby is revealed in a new study of
children born in Bristol, England.
The research suggests that a woman who suffers anxiety during mid
pregnancy is more likely to have a child who shows mixed handedness –
neither left nor right handed - and that is associated with a range of
conditions such as autism, dyslexia and hyperactivity. .

The findings, published in the medical journal Early Human Development,
are based on information collected by the Children of the 90s project
based at the University of Bristol.

Professor Vivette Glover from Imperial College in London analysed data
on 7,400 mothers and children. 

Mothers were asked to report whether, at the age of three a half, their
child used the right or left hand for six tasks – drawing, throwing a
ball, colouring, holding a toothbrush, using a knife and hitting things.

In the analysis, children who used either hand for two or more tasks
were classified as mixed-handed – 21.3 per cent of the boys and 15.4 per
cent of the girls.

The results were compared against standard tests of mother’s anxiety at
three stages during and after pregnancy.

Previous research with animals had suggested that there is a link
between prenatal stress and laterality – our natural preference for
using one side of the body. 

While handedness is often inherited, it is also believed that it may be
affected by conditions in the womb – specifically by increased levels of
hormones such as testosterone. 

When the results were analysed, Professor Glover found that women who
suffered anxiety in the 18th week of pregnancy were more likely to have
a child who showed mixed handedness. There was no significant connection
with anxiety later in pregnancy or with ante-natal depression.

Professor Glover reports: “These findings show that the connection
between antenatal stress and anxiety and atypical laterality observed in
animal studies also exists in humans.

“After controlling for other factors, elevated anxiety at 18 weeks
gestation was associated with a 20 to 30 per cent increase in mixed
handedness as assessed at the age of three and a half.

“Given that there was no effect of postnatal anxiety, the results
support the hypothesis that the effect of maternal mood took place in
the womb. The results support the growing evidence for the importance of
foetal programming in humans.” 

While most ambidextrous people won’t have any problem, statistically
they are more likely to have one of the associated neuro-developmental
conditions than conventionally left or right-handed people. These
include autism, dyslexia, attention deficit / hyperactivity and
schizophrenia 

Professor Glover says: “We should reassure those who are mixed handed
that they will probably not have any of these other problems. We are
talking about risk factors not certainties.

“However it may mean that interventions to reduce maternal stress or
anxiety in pregnancy may reduce the prevalence of both mixed handedness
and other associated developmental disorders such as dyslexia.”

http://www.bris.ac.uk
 
 

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