If you’re like most mums, chances are you found the smell of your newborn tot just divine. In fact, you may have even felt like you were getting high on that gorgeous odour.
Well, according to a recent study, you may have been doing just that!
Researchers at the University of Montreal found that, to mums, smelling a newborn baby feels every bit as good as drugs are to addicts – or cheeseburgers to those just breaking a fast.
The Canadian scientists say that a newborn baby’s odour lights up the reward centres in our brain in a way other scents just can’t. And for women – specifically mums – the experience, a rush of dopamine to the brain, is heightened.
“The odour activates the neurological reward circuit,” explained lead researcher, Dr Johannes Frasnelli. “The circuits may especially be activated when you eat while very hungry, but also in an addict receiving his drug. It is the sating of desire.”
The extensive study was conducted by Dr Frasnelli and his team who scanned the brains of two groups of 15 women — one that had given birth within six weeks and the other who had never had babies — while they were presented with the pyjama scents of newborns.
Even though the babies were not theirs, the report revealed that the levels of the ‘pleasure chemical’ dopamine shot up in the mothers significantly more than women who didn’t not have any children.
Dr Frasnelli said that it was possible that childbirth caused hormonal changes which alter the circuit. Meanwhile the test was not conducted on men, so it’s not certain whether dads are programmed differently from non-dads.
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