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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Oct 29;116(44):22341-22346. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1910666116. Epub 2019 Oct 15.

Population-based neuroimaging reveals traces of childbirth in the maternal brain.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, 0373 Oslo, Norway; a.m.g.d.lange@psykologi.uio.no.
2
Norwegian Centre for Mental Disorders Research (NORMENT), Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo & Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Oslo University Hospital, 0424 Oslo, Norway.
3
Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, OX3 7JX Oxford, United Kingdom.
4
School of Mental Health and Neuroscience, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, 6229 Maastricht, The Netherlands.
5
Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, 0373 Oslo, Norway.
6
Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB), Wellcome Centre for Integrative Neuroimaging, University of Oxford, OX3 9DU, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Maternal brain adaptations have been found across pregnancy and postpartum, but little is known about the long-term effects of parity on the maternal brain. Using neuroimaging and machine learning, we investigated structural brain characteristics in 12,021 middle-aged women from the UK Biobank, demonstrating that parous women showed less evidence of brain aging compared to their nulliparous peers. The relationship between childbirths and a "younger-looking" brain could not be explained by common genetic variation or relevant confounders. Although prospective longitudinal studies are needed, the results suggest that parity may involve neural changes that could influence women's brain aging later in life.

KEYWORDS:

brain imaging; genetics; machine learning; pregnancy and childbirth

PMID:
31615888
PMCID:
PMC6825266
[Available on 2020-04-15]
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1910666116

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no competing interest.

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