Prevent Childhood Emotional Neglect
Early childhood emotional neglect can result in altered brain circuitry involved in fear responses and anxiety, according to a new study. Participants in the study were given a questionnaire to assess their childhood trauma and also evaluated for current, prenatal stress levels. It was found that in babies whose mothers suffered childhood emotional neglect, the brain scan revealed that such babies had stronger connections between the amygdala and frontal cortical regions which is central to processing fearful emotions. Such emotional neglect can be passed on to generations, according to Cassandra Hendrix, Department of Psychiatry at Emory University, USA. This neural signature may be a mechanism that leads to increased risk of anxiety or it can be a compensatory mechanism that promotes resilience in case the infant has less supportive caregivers. The findings highlight the importance of emotional support early in life, even for subsequent generations.