CuddlingChildrenCuddling our children keeps society from collapsing.

An intriguing body of scientific evidence for this comes from long-term research on residents of the low-income district of Hochelaga in Montreal.

The first 2014 issue of Nature, the international weekly journal of science, features an article by Stephen S. Hall, describing the work of University of Montreal scientist Richard Tremblay. In 1984, Tremblay initiated the “Montreal Longitudinal Study,” as it is now known, as part of an effort to deal with hyperactive, physically aggressive kindergarten boys.

In 2004 Tremblay met another Montreal scientist, Moshe Szyf at McGill, who had discovered that if mothers of newborn rats lick and groom their babies, the baby rats develop different patterns of DNA methylation than rats who receive less attention from their mothers. In particular, a mother rat’s care alters the activity of genes that determine how her offspring responds to stress.

Tremblay teamed up with McGill researchers to study whether young monkeys show similar changes in DNA methylation in response to maternal care.

Read the full story in Rabble.








February 21, 2014