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Mom's Warmth May Ward Off Children's Illness

Mom's Emotional and Physical Support May Be Protective Against Disease, Researchers Say

By Bill Hendrick
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Laura J. Martin, MD

May 18, 2010 -- Mothers from poor families who provide strong emotional support for their children can reduce their children's future risk of mental and physical illnesses, a new study suggests.

Low socioeconomic status has been associated with increased risk of mental and physical illnesses, but there are people who are able to thrive despite the adverse circumstances associated with it, according to researchers from the U.S. and Canada.

Researchers tested immune system activation and inflammation in 53 adults between 25 and 40 who came from low socioeconomic backgrounds in childhood. Inflammation has been shown to be a key component in several illnesses, including depression and cardiovascular disease.

The participants were questioned about their recollections of their relationships with their mothers, and then their claims of coming from poor backgrounds were confirmed.

Twenty-six people who remembered their mothers as treating them with warmth had reduced inflammatory profiles in their blood samples, compared to the other 27 who recollected less loving care from their moms, the researchers say.

The researchers say in a news release that the findings could be important for promoting more loving, caring parental relationships as a means of boosting the health of people from low-income families.

They say the findings could lead to more research into how events and treatment in early childhood affect health into adulthood.

The study appears in the May issue of Molecular Psychiatry.

SOURCES: News release, University of British Columbia.

Chen, E. Molecular Psychiatry, May 2010.

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