Brain Shrinkage in First-Time Dads: It's a Good Thing
First-time fathers appear to experience a loss of cortical volume following the birth of their child, new research suggests. Investigators associated with the Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria Gregorio Marañón in Madrid, Spain, and the University of Southern California compared MRIs of the brains of 40 new fathers (half located in the United States and the other half in Spain) to a control group of men without children. Both samples of new fathers showed reductions in cortical gray matter within the default mode and visual networks, although the subcortical structures were preserved. These findings persisted after controlling for the fathers' and children's age at the postnatal scan.
@kukum During the past decade, researchers have discovered a global human 'parental caregiving brain network' that is sensitive to pregnancy-induced factors and sensory cues from the child," advancing "a conceptualization of the postpartum period as a crucial life window to study experience-dependent neural plasticity