Can caring mothers prevent drug use?

December 10th, 2011 - 1:03 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Dec 10 (IANS) While mothers’ crucial role in their children’s upbringing is well known, an attentive, nurturing mother can be the key in helping her children resist temptations of drug use as adults.

Researchers from Duke University and the University of Adelaide in Australia, found attention in early childhood may actually change the immune response of the youngster’s brains, the Daily Mail reported.

In a study conducted on rats, it was found the baby rats of high-touch mothers had a higher level of a molecule called Interleukin-10. This meant they were better able to resist the temptation of a dose of morphine much later in life.

The researchers used a technique called the “handling paradigm”, in which very young baby rats are removed from their mother’s cage for 15 minutes and then returned.

“As soon as they’re returned, she checks them out vigorously”, grooming the baby rats and cleaning them, the researcher Bilbo said.

For a control group, another set of baby raps were never removed. Some of them had more attentive mothers than others, just by natural variation.

The animals then were put through a test called the “place preference chamber”, a two-roomed cage in which they would be given a dose of morphine if they entered one side, or a dose of saline on the other.

Over the next four weeks, the rats were returned to the two-sided chamber three times a week for five minutes, but were never given another dose of morphine.

They all initially showed a preference for morphine side, but over time, the handled rats showed little preference, which indicated their craving had extinguished, Bilbo said.

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