neurology

Mom Superbrains

During pregnancy, many women experience a period of forgetfulness or absentmindedness nicknamed "mommy brain," and as I detailed in How Motherhood Works, those might be inconvenient symptoms of brain remodeling underway. In 2010, when some Yale scientists examined fMRI scans of new moms' brains, they discovered small but significant structural changes the hypothalamus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex -- areas specifically involved with motivation and reward. As I explain in the delightful video below, those alterations offer evidence that what we think of as "maternal instinct" might be neurologically hardwired into new mom's brains:

Why do whispering women cause ASMR brain orgasms?

I didn't realize that I experience ASMR -- autonomous sensory meridian response -- until a Stuff Mom Never Told You listener wrote in about it and suggested that Caroline and I podcast about it. Although I had never heard of ASMR before, I knew exactly what he was talking about: a pleasant tingling sensation (sometimes called "brain orgasms") that runs from the crown the head down the spine in response peculiar auditory stimuli, such as the crinkling of cellophane, the tinkle of tea being slowly poured into a cup, or the sound of a person speaking softly ("let's paint happy tress" Bob Ross is an ASMR hero of sorts).

It's normal for kids to wet the bed, but scientists still don't know exactly why they do. Cristen and Caroline talk Freud, genetics and moisture alarms as they explore the psychology, physiology and neurology of why bedwetting happens.

What's the difference between stress and anxiety? Why are women diagnosed with clinical anxiety twice as often as men? Join Caroline and Cristen as they take a look at how men and women's brains process stress and anxiety differently.