Want To Boost Brain Power? Have A Baby!
For years many women have thought that becoming a mom was the cause of a tired, jumbled brain. But now, a new study, published by the American Psychological Association, suggests that this life-changing event could actually enhance your brain function and make it grow.
The authors of the study, led by neuroscientist Pilyoung Kim, are of the belief that hormonal changes right after birth may contribute to the reshaping of a mother’s brain, according to an American Psychological Association press release.
Researchers took brain scans of 19 new moms at two to four weeks after birth and then again two to four months later, and found that their brains showed growth in midbrain regions involved with the experience of pleasure and in the prefrontal cortex, which is linked to reasoning, planning and judgment, the release states. In adults this kind of change does not occur so significantly unless there is major learning, brain injury or illness, or major environmental change.
The findings are especially true for new mothers who seemed to take more pleasure and joy in their role as a parent. Those who chose more positive words from a list of adjectives, such as “ideal,” to describe their infants, and words such as “proud” and “blessed” to describe their experience of parenthood, saw greater growth in their emotion-processing regions.
And, interestingly, Kim found that mothers who had had more nurturing from their own mothers during childhood had larger brain volumes in areas related to reading faces and empathy, and that these mothers showed more activation in these regions in response to infant cries.
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