“Data from a longitudinal neuroimaging study beginning in the preschool period and including three brain scans through school age and early adolescence were used to investigate the effects of maternal support on the development of the hippocampus. Consistent with animal findings showing that early support enhances hippocampal development and later adaptive coping, findings demonstrated that early childhood maternal support predicted a steeper hippocampal growth trajectory. The data also suggested that early childhood was a sensitive period when the effects of support had a more powerful effect on hippocampal growth. The hippocampal growth trajectory was associated with better emotion regulation in early adolescence. Findings suggest that enhancing early childhood maternal support fosters healthy childhood brain development and emotion functioning.”
Luby JL, Belden A, Harms MP, Tillman R, Barch DM: Preschool is a sensitive period for the influence of maternal support on the trajectory of hippocampal development. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA [Epub ahead of print,Apr 25, 2016; pii: 201601443].