Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis determined school-age children whose mothers nurtured them early in life have brains with a larger hippocampus.
Researchers performed brain-imaging on children ages 7 to 10 who had participated in an earlier study of preschool depression approximately 10 years prior.
That study involved children, ages 3 to 6, who had symptoms of depression, other psychiatric disorders or were mentally healthy with no known psychiatric problems.
“Having a hippocampus that’s almost 10 percent larger just provides concrete evidence of nurturing’s powerful effect.”
Researchers say it is logical that the hippocampus is smaller among depressed children as adult studies have demonstrated similar results. What was surprising was how nurturing made such a big difference in mentally healthy children.