August 29, 2004

Mothers get angry

Increased levels of a hormone have been shown to result in the loss of a mother's maternal aggression when protecting offspring. Mice injected with CRF (Corticotropin-Releasing Factor) were less aggressive towards potential threats to their offspring than those with a low or zero-dosage of the hormone. Other maternal behaviour was unaffected. Lead author Stephen Gammie said:

"Low CRH levels appear to be a necessary part of maternal aggression. If you don't keep them low you won't see this fiercely protective behaviour. "You see this protective behaviour across the species. Mice do it, birds do it and so do humans. "It's a stretch from mice to humans but because this behaviour is so conserved between species it's not unreasonable to think this might be similar in humans."
While this study will quickly be linked to papers that have investigated the relationship between high CRH and postnatal depression, groups have been quick to point out the danger in attributing the complex depression in humans to biochemical imbalances. Heather Welford from the National Childbirth Trust warns:
"Postnatal depression, of all degrees of severity, is known to have many social and emotional aspects which are not accounted for in studies like this. "Maybe we can treat women with the right cocktail of drugs to reduce whatever excess is present. "But as an explanation of why some women suffer badly with postnatal depression, it doesn't get us very far."
Read the BBC News article Read the abstract

Posted at 1:08 am | 0 comments


Post a Comment

<< Home