By Larry Dignan
Posting in Science
Growing up without dad around can affect how your brain develops, according to a new report.
Growing up without dad around can affect how your brain develops.
That's one of the takeaways highlighted by a Wall Street Journal report on German biologist Anna Katharina Braun and other scientists. Their mission: Understand how single parent households affect children. Braun focuses on degus, small rodents tied to guinea pigs and chinchillas. The mother and father raise the degus in nature.
The Journal's money quote:
When deprived of their father, the degu pups exhibit both short- and long-term changes in nerve-cell growth in different regions of the brain. Dr. Braun, director of the Institute of Biology at Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg, and her colleagues are also looking at how these physical changes affect offspring behavior.
Bottom line: Degu pups without fathers are more aggressive and impulsive than others with two parents.
While the story is likely to provoke a reaction the research is interesting and could put some real science behind social problems.
Here's the abstract from the research that's the basis of the Journal story:
Similar to maternal care, paternal care is a source of neonatal sensory stimulation, which in primates and rodents has been shown to be essential for developing structure and function of sensory cortices. The aim of our study in the biparental rodent Octodon degus was to assess the impact of paternal deprivation on dendritic and synaptic development in the somatosensory cortex. We (i) quantified the amount of paternal care in relation to total parental investment and (ii) compared dendritic and synaptic development of pyramidal neurons in the somatosensory cortex of animals raised by a single mother or by both parents. On the behavioral level we show that paternal care comprises 37% of total parent-offspring interactions, and that the somatosensory stimulation provided by the fathers primarily consists of huddling, licking/grooming, and playing. On the morphological level we found that, compared with offspring raised by both parents (mother and father), the father-deprived animals displayed significantly reduced spine numbers on the basal dendrites of pyramidal neurons. Furthermore, paternal deprivation induces hemispheric asymmetry of the dendritic morphology of somatosensory pyramidal neurons. Father-deprived animals show shorter and less complex basal dendrites in the left somatosensory cortex compared with the right hemisphere. These findings indicate that paternal deprivation results in delayed or retarded dendritic and synaptic development of somatosensory circuits.
Oct 26, 2009
Kids raised by two parents (regardless of the gender of the parents) experience two views of the world. If the partnership is working well, two-parent children also observe how adults interact in a close relationship. If one care-giver is male and the other female, the child may learn something about those archetypes. Bottom line is that a two-parent child would logically grow up understanding more approaches to dealing with significant others and challenging situations than a single-parent child. Grandparents can help out, of course, but knowing when to go to parent A as opposed to parent B, and learning how to "work the system" to get your needs met when two parents are involved logically results in an adult who has more tools to work with as s/he makes his or her way through life. Bless the single moms and dads who work so hard to "be everything" for their children. It is a daunting job. At the same time it would be foolish to assume that young children are not impacted when only one view of life is represented during the time in their lives when their basic assumptions and emotions are coming into being.
Ok, so is it better for a child to grow up in a yelling environment? How about a hitting or verbally abusive environment? Of course not. Living in the above situation w/ a Dad in the house is much worse and also creates permanent changes in the brain. Instead of 'downing' the single parent who IS sticking by their kid and doing above and beyond to take care of the kid/kids why not focus research money on the aspects of improving the single parent resources. Also, when the studies are done they rarely to never evaluate the other factors like: Education level of the Single Parent with the child, the non-drug & non-drinker status of the single parents, the economic level of the single parent in COMPARISON to the above mentioned Education level of the parent involved and similar. Enough Single Parent Bashing! WE stood by our children.
The benefit of a single-parent vs. a two-parent family is not proven by this research. I had never even heard of degus before I read this article, so I suspect the researchers were really scraping the proverbial barrel in finding a mammalian species that apparently "co-parents" in some fashion. In reality, male and female mammals who "co-parent" are nearly non-existent in the mammal world, and are not the norm at all. Most don't "co-parent" in any fashion--the young are raised by their mothers with minimal if any participation from fathers. The exceptions where father do play a role tend do be in non-mammalian species (penguins, seahorses). That the researchers found the exceptional species that does apparently "co-parent" really doesn't tell us anything about human beings, just as the research on penguins and seahorses doesn't tell us anything about human beings. With human beings, thre is virtually no evidence that true "co-parenting" has really been norm across history or cultures. Western culture now encourages "co-parenting" for a variety of ideological reasons, but looking over western history, this is unusual. For centuries in the West, fathers functioned as a distant disciplinarians, not as a daily caregivers intimately involved in childraising.
Wonder if any studies have been done on the brain & personality development of children brought up by Gay couples. Also if there is any significant difference if the perents happen to be two women or two men. Of course to experiment this with lab animals may prove difficult as I don't think there is a question of gay couples bringing up young in the animal world unless of course there are gay gorrilas or chimps.
Come on people! If brain development is affected in degus, then it is possible that development can be affected in humans, as well as, other species that are raised by both parents. If you know anything about scientific method, then you'd understand that it's easier to control environmental factors with degus than with humans. Keep everything constant except for the one variable you are studying. The article doesn't say that we are like degus, it says that children without male parents in the picture MAY affect brain development. This may explain a lot of the dysfunctional people in this world. Plus, this doesn't necessarily mean that only single parent kids may be messed up. It is just one of many variables that could have a negative affect on the brains of our children.
Well I have a Mum and Dad, and if you don't then you are lying to yourself. This is a fact it takes a male and a Female to produce an offspring. So you take one away and things are going to be out of balance. I am 49 I still call either Mum or Dad depending on what I need or want to share I will choose the approriate gender and my needs are then met. How can one ever really truly say you can live without one parent successfully unless you beleive God got it wrong and should have only made man not Man and Woman and take note of this both sexes ate the fruit. Thats Food for Thought. Please I wish scientists would stop comparing us to Rodents. Because when I hear your thories I am sure I can smell a rat!
One thing I noticed is that children of single-parent families seem to be more successful. I'm not saying they're totally happy but most of people I know who were brought up by single parents achieved whatever they set out to do in their lives. Some of them achieved it at a very young age. I guess they have attempted to compensate the imbalance in their family life with completeness elsewhere, especially in their careers. So I'm not totally sold to the idea that having one parent is disastrous. As long as that parent doesn't make shortcuts to parenting, the child will be okay.
I would just like to point out, since no one has yet, which I find odd, that this study is NOT of humans. It's of deguses, or degi, whatever those are. How similar are these rodents to humans in any other aspect than the fact that both the father and the mother raise the offspring? My guess is that, because they're rodents, not very. This study may be interesting, but it is no where near as significant as people want it to be. It is not sold evidence at all of anything other than the degus will be more aggressive without it's male parent. As far as I can tell, this is a quasi-scientific study that the right has formulated to make single mothers look even worse than they already do, because this time they'll have "science" behind them.
How many children have been hurt by the misguided but destructive attempts to replace dads with a government welfare check? How many children have been conceived for the sole purpose of getting AFDC checks? My own father is a fireman (now retired). He had a case one day of a single mother calling 911 that her baby wasn't breathing. When they got to the scene, the mother wasn't grieving, just a bit upset. My dad verified the baby was dead. He filled out the death certificate and approached the mother to sign it. She was on the phone with her own mother and said "I don't care if I lose my AFDC money, I don't want another kid!" Needless to say, she was horrified when she realized my dad had overheard her. Our prisons are overflowing with convicts who hate their fathers. We reap what we sow, and we have hell to pay for encouraging women to have children out of wedlock.
Having both a male and female influence is likely to result in a rounder individual than one with just a single source of guidance. This is just like having multiple sources for news, entertainment, etc. That said, it is better to have just one good parent, than to have an abusive or disinterested parents.
ya thats why married.rich.couples produce spoiled brats that go out and do the most bizzare events.talk about retarded!shooting at schools.crimes .assults.rebelious behavior.two parent familys can be good.but it seems to screw kids up more all the different opinons and rules.