Oct 8, 2009

The Earliest Fetal Memory

The Earliest Fetal Memory
Posted: 06 Aug 2009 04:53 PM PDT
These are the stories I love to read! This is why my major was early child development psychology, I am fascinated by how these little brains work and learn!  I truly believe babies (in and out of womb)feel much more than we give them credit. I think the way we treat babies right after birth should be much different and much more fragile.  Maybe the reason guys are so screwed up (of course just my opinion that they are) is somehow related to the painful way they were circumcised at birth with no regard for their pain tolerance.
I'm still mad at the nurses for poking my girl when she first came out. Some people do have better memories than others…Just because most people claim to have their first memory after the age of 3 or 4, doesn't mean we all work like that. Most probably blocked it out, which I can testify on..is what you do when the pain is to much. Next I may do an article on Dolyletics  http://www.doyletics.com/
Anyways, here is the first part of the article:
The story continues here, and a video is provided too: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodNews/Story?id=8083181&page=1
Like any prospective mom, as 21-year-old Angela Morton goes through her first pregnancy the family stories of her own baby years begin to emerge — including her mother's trick of calming her with Aerosmith's 1988 song "Angel" anytime she was a fussing as an infant.
"That was the song for me I guess," said Morton. "But I've never even heard it since I was a baby."
Morton's mother may have discovered a secret infant-soothing property in Steven Tyler's rock ballads. Or, more likely, she was was playing on an aspect of fetal memory outlined by researchers in Tuesday's issue of the journal Child Development.
In a study of 100 of pregnant women in the Netherlands, researchers say they found evidence that fetuses have short-term memory of sounds by the 30th week of pregnancy, and develop a long-term memory of sound after that.
The researchers documented the memory by watching fetal movements with ultrasound while they played "vibroacoustic" sound to the growing baby. Five of the fetuses in the study did not move in reaction to the sound and were eliminated from the study.
But among the fetuses who did move, researchers repeated the sound until the fetus "habituated" to it and no longer reacted. Doctors let some time pass and then tested the memory of the fetus by playing the sound in intervals to see if the fetus "remembered" or recognized the sound and did not react.
The study found that by 30 weeks of age, a fetus could "remember" a sound for 10 minutes. By the 34th week a fetus may be able to "remember" the sound for four weeks.
Morton thought that same sort of memory could have been why she was calmed by Steven Tyler as an infant.
"She [Morton's mother] used to go play it when she pregnant and sing along… then when I was fussy as a baby she used to play it and I calmed down," she said.
Right now Morton mostly plays Christian rock and The Beatles for her baby boy Christian, who is due in November. She says she's thinking about expanding the music collection for her baby in case there is more to this research.
While researchers have long doc­u­mented "habit­u­a­tion" of the fetus?—?an exper­i­ment with car horns and preg­nant women in the 1920s was the first to do so?—?child devel­op­ment spe­cial­ists might not all agree that this is a form of mem­ory as every­day peo­ple think of it.
"In this case, they appear to be study a very prim­i­tive type of mem­ory called habit­u­a­tion or sen­si­ti­za­tion which is the ten­dency of ani­mals to stop respond­ing to a repeated stim­u­lus," said Mark Strauss, autism researcher and asso­ciate pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­sity of Pitts­burgh wrote in an e-mail to ABCnews.com.
"It is already known that a fetus will habit­u­ate to a stim­u­lus. Indeed, even just a sin­gle mus­cle cell that is stim­u­lated by an elec­tri­cal stim­u­lus will stop con­tract­ing, indi­cat­ing a type of mem­ory," said Strauss.
But Strauss was intrigued that the fetal mem­ory could last that either 10 min­utes, or even four weeks, as the researchers sug­gested.
What is critically important to recognize, however, is that these memories are not conscious or introspective voluntary memories they way an older child or adult thinks about past experiences," said Strauss. "They are very different and, indeed, involve lower areas of the brain that are very different from high-level brain area."But that difference only piques the interest of some neurologists who are looking at how memories form in the human brain from the first moments in life through the later stages of dementia.
"It's interesting to say that babies have some memory, some intake of things, even if they're born premature. There's a lot of movement towards making intensive care units friendlier, controlling noise for example, for premature babies," said Dr. Paul Graham Fisher, a professor of neurology at Stanford University.
"Early kids can lie down memories, but what's going to be the really cool thing is how do they do it," he said. "How do stem cells, the very early cells in the brain, encrypt memory in the brain?"
While researchers strive to figure out the mechanics of memory, child development experts say studies like these may encourage parents to keep the earliest of environments in mind.
"Beyond ensuring healthy nutrition, research of this type, along with the work of others regarding infant memory should help us understand the importance of a safe, relatively low stress environment during this very sensitive period of development," said Rahil Briggs, a pediatric psychologist at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City."It really is as if there is a recorder going on in there from the beginning, and we've got to be careful about what it's recording," she said.
Researchers have found short-term memory in fetuses as early as 30 weeks.

The Earliest Fetal Memory is a post from: The Story of A Girl

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments: