Different areas of the brain are associated with empathy – this new research shows how brain regions synchronise to induce empathic responses.
Breastfeeding Improves Mother’s Cognitive Abilities — Years Later
Daily brief research updates from the cognitive sciences
So are you saying that breast feeding is not only good for the infant but also the mother?!
Yes, we’ve know for a long, long time that breastfeeding is very good for the infant. Over the years and with more research new ways in which this are beneficial have been regularly found.
And what did this research show?
Molly Fox et al. at the University of California collected data from two population cohorts and this included 115 women of which 64 were classed as depressed and 41 as not.
More women who breastfed were non-depressed than depressed suggesting a link between breastfeeding and depression.
Oh wow and what about cognitive abilities?
Well, this is where it becomes interesting. Four cognitive tests were used to measure learning, delayed recall, executive functioning and processing. And these were all better, on average in those who had breastfed. But what is more interesting is that there is a positive correlation between how long they breastfed and these abilities!
So the more they breastfed the better their abilities?
And how old were these women?
They were all over 50! This suggests that not only is breastfeeding beneficial to the mother but that this lasts over a lifetime — or rather gives benefits over a lifetime.
And how is this beneficial?
Well, this is open. There is plenty of research into women and how the various lifecycle events impact their health, such as exposure to fluctuating levels of estrogen. There are mechanisms we know in promoting the health of infant such as exchange of immune cells and increased microbiota diversity.
It could be that there are other reasons such as the ability to spend a long time breastfeeding through higher financial security or the beneficial effects of the closeness to the child.
But for now breastfeeding is highly recommended
Yes, and that is why health authorities do actively promote breastfeeding. We now have another reason to support this●
Andy is author of leading brains Review, Neuroleadership, and multiple other books. He has been intensively involved in writing and research into neuroleadership and is considered one of Europe’s leading experts. He is also a well-known public speaker speaking on the brain and human behaviour.
Andy is also a masters athlete (middle distance running) and competes regularly at international competitions (and holds a few national records in his age category).
Molly Fox, Prabha Siddarth, Hanadi Ajam Oughli, Sarah A Nguyen, Michaela M Milillo, Yesenia Aguilar, Linda Ercoli, Helen Lavretsky.
Women who breastfeed exhibit cognitive benefits after age 50.
Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health, 2021
More Quick Hits
New Brain Signature of Empathy Discovered
How Your Silent Synapses Boost Brain Power
A new form of “dark matter” has been proven to exist in the brains of adults – that’s good news!
Scientists Say They Know the Secret to Waking Up Alert
Who doesn’t want to wake up alert and sprightly – researchers may have the answer…
How Your Brain Slows You Down When You’re Sick
We all know that feeling of wanting to curl up and sleep when sickness hits – but how that is controlled was unknown. Until now that is…
How Immune Cells Can Rejuvenate Your Brain
There are many ways to rejuvenate your brain – but this is a new mechanism discovered…
What is the Impact of Gaming on Teenage Mental Health?
Many parents might be worried that gaming will have negative impacts on their children’s mental health – not true. Or only for a small subset…