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Early Separation from Mother Leads to Issues

A new behavioral model tested on mice suggests that early weaning and separation from their mothers promotes long-lasting hyperactivity and anxiety.

Researchers developed the model from observing mice and plan to use the model to investigate the long-term effects of early childhood neglect in people.

Arthur Simen and a team of researchers from Yale University School of Medicine, USA, tested their ‘Maternal separation with early weaning’ (MSEW) model in a group of 80 male mice.

He said, “Childhood adversity, in the form of abuse and neglect, is prevalent throughout the world and poses a significant public health problem. Unfortunately, the underlying molecular mechanisms of the consequences of early life neglect remain largely unknown.

“To address this, we devised a method of maternal separation that combines several published protocols in order to increase the likelihood of observing a reliable behavioral effect while minimizing fatalities to the developing offspring.”

During MSEW, mice undergo maternal separation for 4 hours per day on days 2-5 after birth, and 8 hours per day on days 6-16. They are weaned early, on day 17. The mice exposed to this treatment were found to be hyperactive and anxious, compared to control animals as determined by open field, forced swim and maze tests.

However their body weight and metabolite levels were found to be unchanged revealing that nutritional deficiency was not the cause of the observed behavior.

Speaking about the results, Simen said, “MSEW is a novel paradigm with excellent face validity that allows for in depth examination of the behavioral and neurobiological effects of maternal separation.”

The findings are presented in the open access journal BMC Neuroscience.

Source: BioMed Central

Early Separation from Mother Leads to Issues

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Early Separation from Mother Leads to Issues. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 22, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/09/29/early-separation-from-mother-leads-to-issues/18908.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.