MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joan L. Luby, MD
Samuel and Mae S. Ludwig Professor of Child Psychiatry
Director, Early Emotional Development Program
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, Missouri
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Luby: The study was designed to investigate brain development in early onset mental disorders.
The main findings validate depression in preschoolers with brain change evident this young similar to that known in adults.
We also found effects of maternal support on brain development in this process which is what the current paper focuses on .
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Luby: The critical finding was that maternal support during the preschool period had a big impact on the development of the hippocampus across childhood. Preschool was a sensitive period for these effects.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Luby: There should be more focus on enhancing parenting of preschoolers .
This suggests preventive intervention during preschool is a window of opportunity.
Luby JL, Belden A, Harms MP, Tillman R, Barch DM. Preschool is a sensitive period for the influence of maternal support on the trajectory of hippocampal development.
PNAS, 2016 DOI:10.1073/pnas.1601443113