People may joke about not being hugged by their mothers enough during childhood, but according to research, emotional neglect at a very young age may lead to serious and often fatal health conditions.

MedicalNewsToday.com reports that although lack of parental compassion has been proven to cause psychiatric problems, a study by researchers from the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, is the first to connect emotional neglect with stroke.

The study looked at 1,040 people aged 55 and above. The participants were asked to answer questionnaires that tackled whether or not they felt loved by their parents or caregivers as children. Three and a half years later, 257 of the participants had already passed away, and 129 of them showed signs of having a stroke based on previous medical histories and autopsy reports.

Collating their findings, the researchers discovered that the risk of stroke was three times higher in those who reported having had lonely or fearful childhood experiences than it was in those who felt they were loved as kids.

Study co-author Dr. David A. Bennett had this to say about the results: "Interestingly, the autopsy showed emotional neglect was associated with the presence of cerebral infarctions. The results add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that early life factors such as traumatic childhood experiences influence the development of physical illness and common chronic conditions of old age."

What a child learns and experiences during his formative years can affect him in so many ways as he grows up, so make sure that you always give your kid extra doses of love and affection. Not only will a happy childhood create fond memories, but it may also just save his life.

(Photo by Travis Swan via Flickr Creative Commons)

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