Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Addicted to Mom: Ever wonder why someone is a "mama's boy"?

Researchers have confirmed what a lot of you mothers out there already know: some infants just seem programmed to need their mothers more. As this ScienCentral News video explains, scientists have found a genetic reason why some baby monkeys are more attached to mom, and that the attachment is more like an addiction.

Christina Barr
National Institute on Alcoholism & Alcohol Abuse
Length: 1 min 17 sec
Produced by Joyce Gramza
Edited by Chris Bergendorff
Copyright © ScienCentral, Inc.

Weaning or Withdrawal?

Bonding with mom is an important part of a monkey's development. But just like with people, some kids are easy to wean, while others cling. Now a study of monkeys links these differences in attachment to a gene that's known to be important in addiction.

Christina Barr and colleagues at the National Institute on Alcoholism & Alcohol Abuse study the mu-opioid receptor gene because it tells brain cells to make receptors that respond to opium-like molecules, including the body's natural painkillers, and other pleasure chemicals, but alsolike those in narcotics, alcohol and nicotine. Some people have a version of the gene that is much more sensitive to the rewarding effects of these chemicals than people without this version.

Original here

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