The Parental Brain: Perinatal Influence on Mental Health
Both parents and offspring are susceptible to adverse environmental conditions that alter their normal brain development and adaptations during reproduction, increasing their risk of mental problems in the short and long term. Pregnancy stress and anxiety alter the cognitive performance, memory and behavior of mothers. Resulting in suboptimal maternal hormonal signals and inadequate care, they impact directly and indirectly on the developing baby in utero and in the neonatal stage.
This special issue of 'Neuroendocrinology' is a collection of timely review articles from experts in the field of Mental Health Programming presented at the 'Parental Brain' Conference in Edinburgh in September 2010. A range of mental health topics ranging from the neonatal to the juvenile and to the parental brain are discussed in detail.
The insight provided here from in-depth research into brain mechanisms underlying altered mental health marks the recent realization that mental health is susceptible to adverse programming from an early age and that real harm can be passed on inadvertently from generation to generation. Therefore 'The Parental Brain' offers valuable reading for scientists and clinicians interested in the impact of environmental conditions on mental health and how parental health contributes to long-term mental health in offspring.