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Analysis of Pregnancy from a Neuroscience, Evolution, and Developmental Perspective

Group Research Project for Psychology 1XX3
by

Melissa Liu

on 23 March 2011

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Transcript of Analysis of Pregnancy from a Neuroscience, Evolution, and Developmental Perspective

N.V.P Pregnancy The Story Of ... Ramya Bakaraju
Melissa Liu
Muhammed Saif
Hui Wang Told By It all began... ? ? ? ? unique & stressful often misunderstood no worries, our research will clear misconceptions & can lead to studies that educate society about healthy pregnancies intellectually inferior? detrimental pregnancy sickness? harmful for my baby? Neuroscience Question... ? How do changes in hormone levels during pregnancy affect intelligence? Definition of intelligence intelligence will be distinguished by cognitive function memory
spatial tasks
ability to learn & process information Hippocampus sensitive to fluctuation in hormones alter cognitive function area of the brain that
plays a crucial role in
spatial ability and memory (Kinsley et al., 2006) stimulate the propagation of dendrites receive neural impulses from other neurons in the hippocampus Progesterone Therefore,
more dendrites = more neural signals transferred = IMPROVED SPATIAL ABILITY Estradiol * stimulates the production of synaptic proteins
increases BDNF levels a more advanced "Maternal Intelligence" Testing Spatial Cognition Morris Water Maze How long did it take to locate the platform?
What route did they take?
What are their estradiol and progesterone levels? Observations (Bodensteiner et al.) Spatial Ability consists of ... Reference
Memory & Working Memory navigating through the environment applying acquired information to solve problems the location of the platform was changed at the beginning of each week Results no differences in Reference Memory found the platform and navigated similarily
similar speeds However, pregnant rats found new location FASTER! How? used old information to deduce that the platform's location had been changed! pregnant rats spent less time in the quadrants in which the platform was previously located less perseverance attributed to enhanced working memory Explanation 1. 2. 3. Prefrontal Cortex memory planning of complex behaviours receives input from
hippocampus &amygdala Progesterone reduces anxiety,
preparing mothers for stressful events related to raising offspring Swimming stressful situation for rats
inclination towards less anxiety leads to less stress, which can help in the search for the new platform location Concluding Ideas elevated levels of estradiol and progesterone play a role in spatial cognition
these hormones levels are the body's way of permitting maternal instincts
increased progesterone levels is associated with reduced stress no impairment in cognitive function, no "decrease" in intelligence during pregnancy Onto Evolution Evolution Pregnancy Sickness characterized by Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy usually associated with the avoidance of certain foods occurs mostly during early pregnancy by-product of hormonal fluctuations (Pepper & Roberts, 2006) Quest on To what extent is there an evolutionary advantage for pregnancy sickness and its association with the fluctuation of hormone levels? ? known to reduce levels of insulin
takes nutrients away from maternal tissue synthesis & transport them to the developing placenta functions to break down macromolecules and nutrients During NVP, women naturally tend to avoid strong-tasting vegetables, caffeinated drinks, tobacco and alcohol "maternal and embryo protection hypothesis" Onto Development Development Women experiencing psychological distress exhibited elevated cortisol levels Question To what extent does the weight, biochemical and mental state of the mother affect the development of the fetus? ? ? ? excessive cortisol released will negatively affect the baby’s development leads to fetal weight lower other studies show that children whose mothers were in great distress during pregnancy were much likelier to develop childhood asthma A mother’s mental state can also influence her baby’s temperament all in the mind nature character personality anxiety during pregnancy resulted in a decrease in attention-span in three-month-old infants (Coplan et al., 2005) And physically? Smoking Drug Abuse can cause symmetrical growth impairment, possibly due to a decreased level of oxygen transportation to the fetus decreases the concentration of insulin, an important fetal growth hormone, which causes intrauterine growth impairment (Ingvarsson et al., 2006) significant reduction in weight, length and head circumference of the newborn at birth Drug-abusing mothers are found to have a higher level of anxiety symptoms postpartum Consequently, the high level of distress that drug-abusing mothers must cope with can impair the fetus in further development Weight children who are Large for Gestational Age (LGA) at birth, and were exposed to an intrauterine environment of either diabetes or maternal obesity, are at an increased risk of developing metabolism problems (Boney et al., 2005) Children of mothers with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) have a high rate of becoming overweight due to an association with intrauterine growth and parental obesity GDM is refers to a condition where one is not necessarily diagnosed with diabetes, but exhibits high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. (Schaefer-Graf et al., 2005) } Conclude that... a mother’s physical health, especially in regards to her weight, can have a direct negative impact on the development of her child To Sum It Up spatial working memory is enhanced ... spatial reference memory is unchanged due to the increased levels of estradiol and progesterone (Bodensteiner et al., 2005) (Kinsley et al., 2006) pregnancy sickness is advantageous as it directs nutrients towards the placenta and nourishes the fetus also protects the fetus against pathogens that may be found in food, resulting in nausea Anxious mothers may impair the growth of their fetus during late pregnancy children of mothers who were under distress were more likely to be born with a low weight weight of the mother also played a role as children were more likely to be obese due to intrauterine environment (Heinrich et al., 2010) (Diego et al., 2006) (Schaefer-Graf et al., 2005) (Pepper and Roberts, 2006) The End.
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