Pressing babies’ heads to obtain ‘better’ shapes damages brain – Neuroscientists
Neuroscientists at the University of Cape Coast (UCC) are calling on women to stop pressing the heads of newborn babies in order to change the shape of the heads of such babies.
According to the scientists, such practices affect the functioning of the brains of the children and might affect their thinking capabilities when they grow up.
The neuroscientists were speaking at the brain awareness week at the University of Cape Coast.
The human skull, a bony structure forms the head of the human skeleton, supports the structures of the face and forms a cavity for the brain. The brain is contained in, and protected by, the skull bones of the head.
In Ghana and elsewhere, many nursing mothers after the birth of the children, reject the shapes of the heads of their babies and decide to alter such heads to suit them.
But the practice, according to Neuroscientists at the University of Cape Coast is wrong and poses a danger to the brain of the infants. They posit that the continuous pressing of the fragile heads of newborn babies to change the shape of their heads has grave consequences for the brains of the children.
At the ongoing Brain Awareness Week in Cape Coast, Dr Francis Djangmah with the school of physiology called for an end to such practice. He says the practice places enormous limitations on the brain of the children.
“Their skull is very soft. If you press so hard on it, you will see a depression on the skull. So, the old ladies who are made to bath the children should not press the head so as to change its shape. It has a deleterious effect on the brain of the child. If you press the head, you are going to press directly on the brain and damage the brain cells”
“Over the years, that is what many parents have been doing to their children. Many behaviours exhibited by certain grown-ups are symptomatic of what they went through in the hands of the mothers and caregivers,” he explained.
Dr Djangmah also called for a rigid enforcement of the domestic violence laws that abhor husbands and men beating their pregnant wives and partners.
“The Ministry for Gender and Social Protection should team up with the Domestic Violence and Victims’ Support Unit to heavily punish husbands to beat their pregnant wives. When women are pregnant whatever happens to them affect their unborn children. Their acts affect the brains of the children,” he added.
Prof. Francis Offei, another neuroscientist called for an end to the hitting of the heads of children with implements and other objects. He says the practice coupled with the failure of many to treat certain diseases has the propensity to damage the brain.
“Corporal punishment especially the ones that involve the knocking and hitting of the heads of children with heavy objects. All these have to stop to protect the brain.”
“Diabetes and some common conditions which are poorly managed in this country may lead to strokes and strokes can lead to brain damage,” he ended.
The Brain Awareness Week is global campaign helping to promote public interest in how to protect the brain of individuals.