It is a well known ‘old wives tale’ that a mother’s love can protect a child from illness. Her love creates a protective bond around a newborn baby that shields them from harm as they grow.

Now new research conducted by scientists from the University of British Columbia, Canada shows that indeed children who have received copious amounts of ‘maternal warmth’ as children, regardless of their socio-economic status, are less prone to certain illnesses in their adult years.

Scientists have now proved that a child who feels secure in their mother’s love as a child has lower levels of protein molecules that cause inflammation in tissues of the body. In later years this inflammation can develop into conditions such as asthma, cardiovascular disease and depression.

These findings, relating to early childhood and ‘maternal warmth’ have now been published in Molecular Psychiatry, a new online multidisciplinary medical journal.

For the study, Edith Chen and fellow researchers from the University of British Columbia selected 53 adults (aged 25 to 40 years old) whose childhoods had been difficult from a socio-economic point of view, but who now showed no significant differences in their current demographic or behavioural aspects.

The candidates were asked about their early childhood including any economic hardships and their relationship with their mothers. Their immune systems were also tested on immune activation and systemic inflammation patterns.

From this group of 53 it was found that the 26 participants who said their mothers were warm and loving had reduced inflammatory profiles when compared to the remaining 27 people in the study.

The researchers said that these findings were significant because they showed that a loving and secure home atmosphere helped reduce the harmful medical effects of poverty.

The unconditional love of a mother should never be underestimated. It is one of the most important and powerful ingredients in the development of a healthy balanced child who is less likely to suffer from a heart disease and mental health issues later in life.

This ‘maternal warmth’ creates in the child a sense of wellbeing and self worth so that as they grow up they are less prone to depression and feelings of low self esteem.

Austin Health cardiologist Prof David Hare said “having a caring mother is highly beneficial, irrespective of poor social circumstances”.

Writer Helen Splarn. Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.

Source: Molecular Psychiatry