Tag Archive for 'baby brain'

Reese Witherspoon: My Baby “Stole My Brain” And Her Girlfriends Rallied

Reese warned us that her baby boy, Tennessee, “stole her brain” a few weeks ago in an interview with British Magazine, Red. The Oscar-winning actress, 37, had her third child, Tennessee, in October with husband Jim Toth. She is also mom to 13 year old daughter Ava and 9 year old son, Deacon.

“Ever since I had the baby, I can’t remember anything. Serious, this child stole my brain,” says Witherspoon. “I’m losing friendships over forgetting to get back to people. But you can’t keep up with everything,” explains the busy mom.

It is comforting to know that celebrities can get “Mommy-brains” like the rest of us when we are running on little sleep and chasing after kids, particularly when there are multiple children to take care of the same time plus other responsibilities.

Reese says taking care of all three of her kids mentally is “like CNN ticker tape running through my mind at all times….”’Where is Ava? She’s okay. Good. Where is Deacon? He’s okay. Good. Where is Tennessee: Is he okay? Great. Back to Ava….’ It doesn’t stop.”

Reese’s emotional reserves have been put to the test lately with her recent arrest for disorderly conduct at the same time as her husband’s DUI. She has publicly admitted that she and her husband are “deeply embarrassed” adding “we know better. “ Clearly this mom was on overload and was letting loose a little too much that evening to be in a car driven by her husband who was also under the influence.

Reese does credit her girlfriends for getting her the hard times. “I don’t know what I would have done so many times in my life if I hadn’t had my girlfriends.” She adds, “It’s nice to hang with Drew because we both just had babies and we can support each other,” she says of Barrymore, who also welcomed a baby last fall, daughter Olive. “And Cameron is such a funny, bright, gal. She’s an incredibly sharp business-minded woman, but she disguises that side of herself. It’s her secret alter ego.”

Shortly after her arrest Reese relied on the help of her girlfriends, including Chelsea Handler, to help her weather the publicity storm. She admits, “They have literally gotten me up out of bed, taken my clothes off, put me in the shower, dressed me, said, ‘Hey, you can do this,’ put my high heels on and pushed me out the door!”

We should all remember to lean in on our girlfriends, particularly after having a baby, dealing with baby blues. Husbands and partners are great and essential to help with everything baby and otherwise. But our girlfriends do wonders for our psyches and can cheer us up during our baby blue and “Mommy brain” fog, they can keep us laughing and smiling though the best and worst of it all. So, don’t forget to call your girlfriends whenever you need a pep talk or a laugh (or they need one).

Babies just over a year old are able to understand words just like adults, find researchers.

Babies just over a year old are able to understand words just like adults, find researchers.

In a new study, specialized MRI and MEG imaging tests that look at the brain were used to see how babies respond to spoken words. Scientists from University of California, San Diego found they process words and not just sounds, much like adults, and in the same area of the brain as grown-ups.

Scientists used non-invasive MEG and MRI tests to view brain activity in 12 to 18 months old. MEG (magnetoencephalography) is a type of test that measures weak magnetic fields generated by electrical activity in the neurons of the brain. .

Co-leader of the study, Katherine E. Travis, of the Department of Neurosciences and the Multimodal Imaging Laboratory, all at UC San Diego explains, “Babies are using the same brain mechanisms as adults to access the meaning of words from what is thought to be a mental ‘database’ of meanings, a database which is continually being updated right into adulthood.” .

There have been several theories about how babies process language, one being that the brain evolves from infancy to adulthood, but begins with a primitive form of learning. Adults with frontotemporal lesions in the brain have difficulty processing language leading to speculation about language processing, but for infants, that part of the brain doesn’t seem critical. .

One theory is that the difference between adults and babies is that a different area of the brain engages in infancy for language development – specifically, the right hemisphere and inferior frontal regions that become less dominant as babies mature, but the theory lacks evidence. .

One way to observe how language is processed with the imaging techniques used by the scientists in the current study, which allowed the researchers to observe areas of the brain activated when a baby hears words. The scientists found out that babies understand the meaning of words, before they speak. .

The researchers exposed the babies to sounds, pictures and words in the study. Some of the words were paired with acoustic sounds with no associative meaning. In the second part of the study, words were spoken and either matched or mismatched to pictures to see if babies really do understand the meaning of words. .

Brain activity on the scans showed that babies knew the difference between words that did not match the pictures. The same brain response occurred in the babies as in adults, in the same left frontotemporal areas. The researchers confirmed the response was the same in adults shown pictures that did not match words. .

When the scientists showed pictures of a ball for instance, and spoke the word, the same area of the brain used by adults was activated, showing babies do understand language and that they can process words. .

Eric Halgren, PhD, professor of radiology in the School of Medicine says, “Our study shows that the neural machinery used by adults to understand words is already functional when words are first being learned. This basic process seems to embody the process whereby words are understood, as well as the context for learning new words.”

The findings show babies do understand words and process language just like adults. The scientists say their research results mean infants could be screened for language disabilities and autism at an early age. .