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Neural correlates of gentle skin stroking in early infancy
Univ Turku, Finland; Univ Turku, Finland; Univ Turku, Finland; Turku Univ Hosp, Finland.
Univ Turku, Finland; Univ Turku, Finland; Turku Univ Hosp, Finland.
Univ Turku, Finland.
Univ Turku, Finland; Univ Turku, Finland.
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2019 (English)In: Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, ISSN 1878-9293, E-ISSN 1878-9307, Vol. 35, p. 36-41Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Physical expressions of affection play a foundational role in early brain development, but the neural correlates of affective touch processing in infancy remain unclear. We examined brain responses to gentle skin stroking, a type of tactile stimulus associated with affectionate touch, in young infants. Thirteen term-born infants aged 11-36 days, recruited through the FinnBrain Birth Cohort Study, were included in the study. Soft brush strokes, which activate brain regions linked to somatosensory as well as socio-affective processing in children and adults, were applied to the skin of the right leg during functional magnetic resonance imaging. We examined infant brain responses in two regions-of-interest (ROIs) known to process gentle skin stroking - the postcentral gyrus and posterior insular cortex - and found significant responses in both ROIs. These results suggest that the neonate brain is responsive to gentle skin stroking within the first weeks of age, and that regions linked to primary somatosensory as well as socio-affective processing are activated. Our findings support the notion that social touch may play an important role in early life sensory processing. Future research will elucidate the significance of these findings for human brain development.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ELSEVIER SCI LTD , 2019. Vol. 35, p. 36-41
Keywords [en]
Infants; Development; fMRI; Touch; Social touch
National Category
Neurology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-154677DOI: 10.1016/j.dcn.2017.10.004ISI: 000456714500008PubMedID: 29241822OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-154677DiVA, id: diva2:1292866
Note

Funding Agencies|Hospital District of Southwest Finland; Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation; Brain and Behavioral Foundation (NARSAD) YI Grant [19056]; Finnish Academy; Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation; Jalmari and Rauha Ahokas Foundation; European Union Seventh Framework Program (FP7/2007-2013) [PIOF-GA-2012-302896]; Soderstrom-Konigska Foundation; Fredrik och Ingrid Thuring Foundation; Linnea och Josef Carlsson Foundation; O. E. och Edla Johanssons Foundation

Available from: 2019-03-01 Created: 2019-03-01 Last updated: 2019-03-26

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Sehlstedt, IsacBjörnsdotter Åberg, Malin
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