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Pregnancy changes a woman’s brain, altering the size and structure of areas involved in perceiving the feelings and perspectives of others, according to a first-of-its-kind study published Dec. 19 last year.
In the study, researchers scanned the brains of women who had never conceived before, and again after they gave birth for the first time. The results were remarkable: loss of gray matter in several brain areas involved in a process called social cognition or theory of mind, the ability to register and consider how other people perceive things.
Pregnancy may help a woman’s brain specialize in “a mother’s ability to recognize the needs of her infant, to recognize social threats or to promote mother-infant bonding,” said Elseline Hoekzema, a researcher at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who led the study at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona in Spain.
The researchers also scanned the brains of 17 men who were not fathers and 19 first-time fathers before and after their partners’ pregnancies. The two male groups showed no difference in brain volume.
Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2017/01/16/2003663156
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