A mother’s voice triggers much more than the auditory processing region of a child’s brain, according to new Stanford University School of Medicine research. The small study reveals that regions of the brain tied to emotion, reward, facial recognition and social function were activated. In 2010, a study of teenagers showed that the sound of Mom’s voice reduced a stress hormone and stimulated oxytocin, one of the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain.

Once we’re all grown up, our conversations with Mom might be less frequent. However, relationships remain important not only to brain health, but also to physiological well-being. Researchers in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York reviewed studies published as recently as 2015 and found that social isolation appears to increase the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke risk.