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The Benefits of Brain Changes Occurring In Men During Fatherhood

The brain is considered the command center of the human body. To date, modern science has a lot to learn about the brain.

The advancement in medical technology allows experts to look at brain changes in the MRI. Some experts even attempted to look at the body during sex, and they were able to see activity.

On the other hand, there are now many who recognized the power of the brain including experts, of course.

We use the brain to focus on certain things. Using imagination, which involves the brain can help curb food cravings and eventually for weight loss purposes, or even build muscles.

It is also important to note that changes can occur to the brain, and this can either be good or bad.

For instance, drug addiction changes the brain in a negative way. But activity like exercise causes changes beneficial to the brain.

Man’s Brain Changes Into Fatherhood

The positive and beneficial brain changes are what we want. A man entered into fatherhood triggers brain changes according to a study1 published in the Journal of Social Neuroscience.

For first-time dads, can recall those unusual, but exciting feeling the first time you saw your child?

Prior to this study, one previous study2 found certain functional changes on fathers’ brains. The researchers found an increased in neural activity as a response when the fathers see their infants.

In this study, lead researcher Pilyoung Kim at the Universities of Yale and Denver said they found an increased in volume of grey matter in several regions of the brain including the striatum, amygdala, hypothalamus, anterior cingulate cortex and lateral prefrontal cortex.

Brain Regions and Their Functions

  • Striatum – involved in reward processing and among other functions
  • Hypothalamus – hormonal control
  • Amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex – involved in emotional processing
  • Lateral pre-frontal cortex – involved in memory and decision making

During an MRI scan, researchers found the pre-frontal cortex region has the most increased activity when first-time fathers saw their infant. The findings are to a previous study. Although the earlier study is on monkeys.

Although the researchers are not certain what these increase in gray matter volume means, they point out that research done on animals means these regions are important linking to attachment and nurturing behaviors.

This may be the reason when a first time dad has this strange but great feeling when seeing the infant for the first time.

While several regions increased in gray matter area, there are also regions found to be reduced. These regions include orbitofrontal cortex and left insula. What’s interesting is that these regions are linked with anxiety.

The Beneficial Brain Changes

The beneficial brain changes in a man’s brain upon entering fatherhood can be summed up in the following;

  • Hormonal changes – during the beginning of fatherhood, men experience an increase in the several hormones including oxytocin, estrogen, prolactin and glucocorticoids.

  • Bonding between dad-and-baby is boosted due to an increase of oxytocin.

  • New neurons are formed in response to environmental richness. In this case, it’s the infant brought new aspect to a dad’s life.

  • Dads becomes sensitive to the voices of their child.

  • Dad’s brain becomes like a mom’s brain.

Mom’s Brain Changes, Too?

The initial research for this subject was focused on women, and yes women’s brain changes when they become mothers.

Brain Health Tips

There are many simple things you can do in order to maintain brain health.

Eating brain health-friendly foods as part of a good nutrition plan, drinking coffee, regular exercise and getting quality sleep.

These healthy lifestyle practices not only boosts brain health but also boost male fertility and even beneficial to gut health.


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