The sudden and early break of the mother-child bond may predispose babies to mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and addiction, according to the study conducted by researchers at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) School of Science.
The study was conducted in rats separated from their mothers shortly after birth. Experimental analyses showed that, unlike the rats left with their mothers, they exhibited “significant behavioural, as well as biological and physiological, brain abnormalities in adulthood.” In the animals that had been removed from their mothers, the researchers identified “memory impairment, as well as less communication between brain regions” which could “increase a person’s risk of receiving a schizophrenia diagnosis in the future,” according to the author of the study, Sarine Janetsian-Fritz.
According to the researchers, “when a baby is taken from its mother early in life, this significantly alters the future structure and function of its brain. These disturbances may predispose it to neuropsychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and addictions.”
According to them, the results should “encourage public policies to take into account the stress that babies undergo when subjected to maternal deprivation early in life”, in order to “reduce their vulnerability to emotional disorders in adulthood”.