In human children, sensitivity to touch is one of a number of characteristics of the approximately 5 percent of children who over-respond to sensory information.
Since these characteristics can lead to behavioral or emotional problems, early identification and treatment are important. Children who are sensitive to touch have unpleasant and sometimes painful reactions to otherwise pleasant or neutral forms of touching.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, appears in the January/February 2008 issue of the journal Child Development.
“Our results with monkeys have important implications for preventing childhood disorders,” according to Mary L Schneider, professor of occupational therapy and psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the study’s lead author.
Researchers studied 38 5- to 7-year-old rhesus monkeys born to mothers who either drank a moderate dose of alcohol every day during their pregnancies, were exposed to a mild 10-minute stressor during their pregnancies, drank a moderate amount of alcohol and were exposed to the stressor during their pregnancies, or were undisturbed while they were pregnant. A moderate dose of alcohol for the monkeys was defined as the equivalent of two drinks a day for a human.
Without knowing which situation the mother monkeys had experienced, the researchers rated the monkeys’ offspring according to how they responded to repeated touch with a feather, a cotton ball, and a stiff brush. They found that monkeys whose mothers had not been stressed or consumed alcohol got used to touch over time, while monkeys whose mothers had been stressed grew more disturbed by touch over time. Monkeys who had been exposed to alcohol prenatally were disturbed by touch more than monkeys who had not been exposed to alcohol prenatally.
Using a brain neuro-imaging technique known as positron emission tomography, or PET, the researchers found that the monkeys’ sensitivities to touch were related to changes in a brain chemical called dopamine in one area of the brain, the striatum. Regulating dopamine plays a crucial role in mental and physical health. Particularly important for learning, dopamine plays a major role in addictions.
“Our findings with monkeys suggest that when mothers are under stress and/or drink alcohol while pregnant, their offspring are at risk for sensory sensitivities,” notes Schneider.
Schneider called for further studies to determine whether reducing sensory sensitivities at an early age in children might help prevent the development of fetal alcohol-related behavioral problems.
“Our findings also have important implications for women of childbearing age,” she added, “suggesting that sensory sensitivities might be reduced by decreasing stress levels and abstaining from alcohol during pregnancy or if planning pregnancy.”
Andrea Browning | EurekAlert!
Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy