Rat’s guide to parenting “can benefit generations to come”, according to articles in ScienceDaily and Science doi: 10.1126/science.1252723, 15 August 2014. Larry Young and James Rillings of Emory University have carried out a review of research into “biological mechanisms governing a shift in mammals’ parental motivation that begins with aversion and transforms into irresistible attraction after giving birth”. Recent studies have shown that the hormones that stimulate physiological processes involved in preparing the uterus for pregnancy, and stimulating the process of birth and milk production also interact with brain chemicals to activate brain activity involved in nurturing, protecting and bonding with infants. According to Young and Rillings, “Parenting in turn shapes the neural development of the infant social brain. Recent work suggests that many of the principles governing parental behaviour and its effect on infant development are conserved from rodent to humans”.


Editorial Comment: There is no doubt that hormones do affect brain function, and these effects need to be studied and understood. Studying animal brain cells and circuits under the influence of these hormones can certainly help us do that, provided we remember human beings are not related to rats, or monkeys, or any animals. Therefore, the limitation of such studies will be that behaviour, especially our family life, will never be determined by animal studies.

Human beings were made in the image of God and consist of body, soul and spirit. The factor that all these animal studies ignore is that man is not only more than an animal, but was made in the Image of the Creator God who has given us clear guidelines and a conscience which is offended if we break His rules. It would seem He also made our brains and hormones to work best for us if we follow the Maker’s instructions, and to work against us if we don’t. One of the interesting things we are learning about brain circuits is they are influenced by our choices to behave in certain ways, as well as by our hormones. We are able to make and break brain circuits throughout our lives, and therefore we can reinforce behaviour that fits the Creator’s instructions, and suppress behaviour that is not. This is not always easy, but with the Creator’s help it can be done. (Ref. biochemistry, neurology, reproduction)

Evidence News vol. 14, No. 17
22 October 2014
Creation Research Australia