Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This Is Your Brain Without Dad

The WSJ reports:
Conventional wisdom holds that two parents are better than one. Scientists are now finding that growing up without a father actually changes the way your brain develops.

German biologist Anna Katharina Braun and others are conducting research on animals that are typically raised by two parents, in the hopes of better understanding the impact on humans of being raised by a single parent. Dr. Braun's work focuses on degus, small rodents related to guinea pigs and chinchillas, because mother and father degus naturally raise their babies together.

When deprived of their father, the degu pups exhibit both short- and long-term changes in nerve-cell growth in different regions of the brain. ...

Their preliminary analysis indicates that fatherless degu pups exhibit more aggressive and impulsive behavior than pups raised by two parents. ...

The basic wiring between the brain regions in the degus is the same as in humans, and the nerve cells are identical in their function. "So on that level we can assume that what happens in the animal's brain when it's raised in an impoverished environment ... should be very similar to what happens in our children's brain," Dr. Braun says. ...

Still, the prevalence of single-parent households has researchers looking at possible consequences for children. An OECD report found that just 57% of children in the U.S. live with both parents, among the lowest percentages of the world's richest nations.

The report, which sparked some controversy when it was released in September, found that children in single-parent households have an increased risk of delinquency and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, as well as poorer scholastic performance.

The OECD also analyzed data from 122 separate studies and found that there was variability in the negative effects on children of living in a single-parent home; on average, the OECD found, the magnitude of the impact was relatively small. On a standardized intelligence test with a median score of 100 points, for example, a child in a single-parent family would be about 3.5 points worse off than a similar child in a two-parent family, according to Dr. Chapple, who co-wrote the report.
Normally I am skeptically about animals evidence, but in this case it explains and corroborates a huge body of evidence in humans. Courts give the kid to the mom, and kid's IQ drops by 3.5 points because of abnormal brain wiring.

3 comments:

squinlivan said...

Our human society was designed to raise a family with parents and also a village....butgovernment has never been a "parent" in any study pro or con....PS Angry Dad am I correct to assume that your case is in California....

and I went to the Elkns Task Force and spoke in the lastest LA forum they held...its amazing what they have ignored with their draft proposals....

George said...

My case is in Santa Cruz, a beach town on the central coast of California.

Anonymous said...

unfortunately the legal concept of "parens patrie" has metasticized, that's part of why we're seeing more government intervention and interference in family life.