Study: brain of child neglected by mother is smaller and underdeveloped

Dina sent me this article from the UK Daily Mail.

Here is the scan:

Brain scans of 3-year old children: normal vs neglected
Brain scans of 3-year old children: normal vs neglected


Both of these images are brain scans of a two three-year-old children, but the brain on the left is considerably larger, has fewer spots and less dark areas, compared to the one on the right.

According to neurologists this sizeable difference has one primary cause – the way each child was treated by their mothers.

The child with the larger and more fully developed brain was looked after by its mother – she was constantly responsive to her baby, reported The Sunday Telegraph.

But the child with the shrunken brain was the victim of severe neglect and abuse.

According to research reported by the newspaper, the brain on the right worryingly lacks some of the most fundamental areas present in the image on the left.

The consequences of these deficits are pronounced – the child on the left with the larger brain will be more intelligent and more likely to develop the social ability to empathise with others.

But in contrast, the child with the shrunken brain will be more likely to become addicted to drugs and involved in violent crimes, much more likely to be unemployed and to be dependent on state benefits.

The child is also more likely to develop mental and other serious health problems.

Professor Allan Schore, of UCLA, told The Sunday Telegraph that if a baby is not treated properly in the first two years of life, it can have a fundamental impact on development.

He pointed out that the genes for several aspects of brain function, including intelligence, cannot function.

[…]The study correlates with research released earlier this year that found that children who are given love and affection from their mothers early in life are smarter with a better ability to learn.

The study by child psychiatrists and neuroscientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, found school-aged children whose mothers nurtured them early in life have brains with a larger hippocampus, a key structure important to learning, memory and response to stress.

The research was the first to show that changes in this critical region of children’s brain anatomy are linked to a mother’s nurturing, reports.

The research is published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Lead author Joan L. Luby, MD, professor of child psychiatry, said the study reinforces how important nurturing parents are to a child’s development.

I have a very good feminist non-Christian friend who sometimes comments here. I once asked her about marriage and she said that her skills would be wasting on raising children. I explained to her my view that a mother needs to stay at home with the children, and that is more important work. I expect my future wife to read all kinds of books on child care and to give the child attention, nutrition, exercise and play so that the child will grow up to be an effective Christian. Maybe I need to be clear. I am not going to spend hundreds of thousands per child with just any woman. I need a woman who can produce influential and effective Christians who will engage in the public square. And we do not entrust that job to just anyone – we want a Michele Bachmann or a Jennifer Roback Morse. Professional women who are willing to be stay-at-home moms when it’s necessary to do that.

I expect the woman I marry (if I marry) to have a college degree, and preferably a graduate degree, and a couple of years of employment. Then she has to stay home and invest in those children through the first five years at least. After that she can stay home or work as much as she thinks is beneficial to the family goals of impacting the university, the church and the public square – as well as continuing to raise those children. It’s not a waste of her talent to make the next William Lane Craig, the next Marsha Blackburn, the next Doug Axe, or the next Edith Jones.

7 thoughts on “Study: brain of child neglected by mother is smaller and underdeveloped”

  1. It is important for mothers to be there for their children. However, the kind of woman you say you want to marry isn’t a good bet for this. 1. If she has a graduate degree, she probably has a load of student debt. You might have trouble making enough money to support your family on one income while paying on her student loans. 2. The kind of woman who pursues, and obtains, a graduate degree is typically less family-oriented. 3. Do you want to take the chance that she slutted it up through college and grad school, and you are ending up with a wife who is past her peak attractiveness and has a lot of mileage on her? Just think of the divorce risk.

    You’re better off marrying in your mid-20’s to a young virgin. Pick someone who doesn’t have career ambitions, but instead wants to be a wife and mother. This kind of woman will support you instead of competing with you. Granted, this is hard to find nowadays. But it’s better not to marry at all than to marry a career woman / slut.


    1. Oh I don’t take women with graduate degrees outside of STEM fields, and they have to have not only paid off their debts, but saved some money, too. If your debt is $40K, you can pay that off with 2 years of full-time work. And don’t forget, you can earn money while in school in the summers. I worked every single summer that I was in undergraduate, but I took courses in the summer when I was in graduate school.


    2. I have a graduate degree in biology and I never had a penny of debt. I paid my tuition by working part time (sometimes a couple part time jobs) and by going to a less expensive school. And I’m quite happy now as a stay-at-home mom. I got my degree because 1) I wanted to learn, 2) I didn’t have a husband and figured I should do something useful with myself in the meantime, 3) I wasn’t going into debt to do it, and 4) I wanted to have the education to aid me in homeschooling my own children – both to have the knowledge and to have the degree in case the law one day requires a degree to teach your own children.

      I never had career ambitions. I wanted to be a wife and mother. A graduate degree fit perfectly with my plans. And my husband is glad of my education. He’s the academic type and we have so much more in common than we would have if I hadn’t studied all those years. I’m a better help to him in his work and in raising our children with my education.

      Of course, I don’t think it’s wrong to marry a young girl right out of high school. I don’t think every woman needs to go to college. But this idea that a woman shouldn’t be too educated or too smart or she might be too much for a man to handle or too much of a career woman isn’t right either.

      Oh, and going to college has nothing to do with being a slut.


      1. Well, I sort of do think the degree is required. I think we need to make this a rule for young men. Do not marry any woman who has a non-STEM degree. They can’t be partying all the time if they are doing a STEM-degree, and it shows that they are willing to do hard things that require work.

        You are a homeschooling mom, you need a degree in the sciences or engineering or nursing or something like that.

        I think that point about the law changing is so forward looking. I cannot find any young single Christian women who even think like that.


        1. Being homeschooled myself, I am quite familiar with the problems many homeschooling families face in a world that is hostile to parents raising their children and educating them according to their own values. I’ve heard a lot of horror stories and I don’t want my family to be a statistic. Too many people think homeschooled kids are truant if they’re out and about during the day or think their parents must be hiding them to avoid having anyone find out about abuse, among other things. It’s weird how people are so freaked out by the idea of parents educating their own children – as if that was a totally new idea. So I am afraid that one day homeschooling will be outlawed or so tightly regulated so that most parents can’t do it. That’s the dream of the liberals. Having an advanced degree should prove useful in such a scenario. I shouldn’t have to prove that I know what I’m doing in order to teach my own kids (that’s my right as a parent, regardless of my education or lack thereof), but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared and have the credentials so that no one can question my knowledge. If society trusts me to teach their kids biology in college, they should also recognize my ability to teach my own kids.


  2. This is why it is so important for mothers to be the primary care taker of their children and to not just drop their children to the day care to be raised by the state.


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