Friday, July 11, 2008

Baby smiles get us "high"

Have you ever noticed no matter how mad or aggravated you are, one little smirk from your baby will make you happy? I completely get a natural high when I see my kids are genuinely thrilled to see me. It is just one of those things that makes being a parent so wonderful. Now, scientists have measured that "natural high."

Here's the story from ABC:

Parents live to make their children happy, and a new study suggests they are made happier in return. Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine had 28 first-time moms view pictures of babies - both their own and others - while scientists took images of the mothers' brains.

In some pictures, the babies were happy, while in others they had neutral or sad expressions. Not surprisingly, the mother's brains showed more activity in response to pictures of their own children. Doctors got the strongest reaction in response to smiling babies - pictures of the happy babies activated reward centers in their mothers' brains.

These are the same areas that light up in the brains of drug addicts, so in essence, smiling babies are a natural high. Researchers say these neural responses likely contribute to mother-baby bonding. They were surprised to find that mothers did not have an increased response to the sight of their baby crying compared to pictures of other crying infants - suggesting that reaction to a baby's distress may be universal.

Do you remember the first time you got this feeling?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

Methodist Medical Center's new online healthcare program, MyMethodist eHealth, is a proud sponsor of this blog post. MyMethodist eHealth is the secure link to your doctor's office that lets you request appointments, order prescription refills, update your personal health record, and more. Sign up for MyMethodist eHealth here.

2 comments:

Maria said...

The Boy's smile always melts my heart-- from the first sleep smile to his toothy grin. His giggle works too... :)

newsanchormom.com said...

Oh yes, the baby giggle is the best!

 
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