Call for participants in 'baby brain' study

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Three pregnant women sitting in front of sofa
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In a world-first study, researchers from the Reproductive Health Research Team at Deakin University aim to discover whether ‘baby brain’ plays a part in excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
Blamed for everything from forgetfulness to food cravings, ‘baby brain’ refers to a set of cognitive processes associated with completing tasks.
Deakin researchers are seeking mothers-to-be who are currently between 16 and 36 weeks’ pregnant to take part in a two-hour cognitive neuroscience session that includes a short questionnaire, standard psychological tests, and computerised puzzle and time reaction tests.
The tests will feature both food and non-food related stimuli and as participants complete the session, electrical activity of the brain will be captured using an EEG (electroencephalography) and physical reactions will be measured by an eye tracker underneath the computer screen. Both methods are non-invasive and have no known health risks.
As an added bonus, all participants will receive a $30 Coles Group and Myer gift card as a thank you for their time.
Deakin Psychology Lecturer, Dr Melissa Hayden, explains that the results from this study could potentially benefit thousands of mothers-to-be.
“Current research reveals that half of all pregnant women gain more weight than is considered healthy during pregnancy, which puts both mother and child at risk of negative short and long-term health outcomes such as obesity and weight management issues,” she said.
Dr Hayden explains that other research in non-pregnant populations indicates that people who struggle with their weight are not able to control their brain’s responses to high calorie foods as well as people who do not have weight issues.
“We think a similar response may occur during pregnancy, causing some women to gain weight excessively.”
“By studying how pregnant women respond to food related stimuli, we can begin to understand the relationship between self-regulation and decision-making during pregnancy and excessive weight gain during this life phase. This, in turn, will help to explain why some women struggle with healthy pregnancy weight gain.”
To register your interest for this landmark study, please contact Briony Hill, Project Liaison Officer, on 03 9244 6538 or
(Source: Deakin University)

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Date Created: June 27, 2015