Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Warm Mom Beats the Chill of Poverty

Martin Allinger/Stutterstock
 Genes and molecules now confirm that having a nice mother when you’re poor can be good for your health, say researchers from the University of British Columbia and the University of California at Los Angeles.

They evaluated biomarkers of inflammation and immune activation in 53 people, ages 25 to 40, who grew up in poor families. Those whose mothers expressed warmth toward them showed less production or activity of three pro-inflammatory factors, compared with those who grew up in similar settings but whose mothers treated them with less warmth, said the researchers, in July issue of Molecular Psychiatry.

The idea that family support may protect people under adversity from poor health outcomes is not new, but little is known about possible biological mechanisms linking the two. This study suggests the possibility that the detrimental immunologic effects of low socioeconomic environments early in life may be partly offset by life in a supportive family.

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