Dr. Swain completed medical school at the University of Toronto, psychiatry and child & adolescent psychiatry residency at the University of Ottawa, and child neuropsychiatry research fellowship at Yale University. His clinical work is focused on the diagnosis and treatment of childhood mood and anxiety disorders as well as infant psychiatry with very early family based approaches. This is complemented by his functional brain imaging research on the "parental brain" and developmental aspects of mental health. Currently, he is studying how parent brains respond to baby signals as a function of mood and parental behaviors themselves. Ultimately, this work will be partnered with intervention research and multi-modalities, developmental approaches, and genetic tools to understand how the parental environment may be enriched toward improved child outcomes.
My current research focus is on the cognitive neuroscience that underlies the risk, resilience and recovery associated with mental health issues, especially as relates to the transition to parenthood, early parent-infant thoughts and behaviors, and later parenting and child development. Thus, my group is pursuing the brain mechanisms that govern thoughts and behaviors involved in human attachment and child development. Over the last 10 years, we have accumulated an extensive database on parents in the early postpartum, which includes interviews, self-reports, video assessments, and brain imaging. In brief, we have been conducting functional magnetic resonance imaging while parents attend to emotionally charged baby stimuli. We are beginning to describe the ways that key emotion-regulation brain circuits are activated in parents’ brains by baby stimuli in ways that correlate with parenting thoughts and behaviors in healthy parents as well as vulnerable groups such as parents with postpartum depression and anxiety as well as from opiate-exposed and youth groups. We are also investigating the relationship between the activity of key brain circuits and infant development. Furthermore, we have expanded our work to include the effects of the chronic stress of low socioeconomic status and minority status - throughout development - on a range of brain circuits, some of which are involved in parental care and may mediate health risk and resilience. Finally, we are gathering data on the biological mechanisms through which parenting interventions act toward breaking intergenerational cycles of illness.
Swain JE, Konrath S, Brown SL, Finegood E, Akce LB, Dayton CJ, Ho SS: Parenting and beyond: Common neurocircuits underlying parental and altruistic caregiving Parenting: Science & Practice 2012;12(2-3):115-123. PMID 22971779
Kim P., Mayes LC, Feldman R, Leckman JF, Swain JE: Primary Parental Preoccupation and the Transition from Adulthood to Parenthood. Journal of Infant Mental Health 2012 [in press]
- Swain JE, Perkins SC, Dayton CJ, Finegood ED, Ho SS: Parental Brain and Socioeconomic Epigenetic Effects in Human Development. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2012;35(5):378-379. PMID:23095400
Swain JE, Kim P, Ho. SS: Connecting Human Parenting Neuroimaging and Neuroendocrinology. Journal of Neuroendocrinology 2011 Nov;23(11):1036-41. PMID:21848646
Kim P, Feldman R, Leckman, JF, Mayes LC, Swain JE: Breastfeeding, Brain Activation to Own Infant Cry, and Maternal Sensitivity Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 2011;Aug;52(8):907-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2011.02406.x. Epub 2011 Apr 18. PMID:21501165
Swain JE: The human parental brain: In vivo neuroimaging Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology & Biological Psychiatry 2011;Jul 1;35(5):1242-54. Epub 2010 Oct 29. PMID:21036196
Kim P, Leckman JF, Mayes LC, Feldman R, Xin W, Swain JE: The plasticity of human maternal brain: longitudinal changes in brain anatomy during the early postpartum period. Behavioral Neuroscience 2010 Oct;124(5):695-700. PMID: 20939669
Kim P, Leckman JF, Mayes LC, Newman, M.-A., Swain JE: Perceived Quality of Maternal Care in Childhood and Structure and Function of Mothers’ Brain Developmental Science 2010 Jul;13(4):662-73. PMID: 20590729