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Fatherhood gets into the head

by Medindia Content Team on August 26, 2006 at 11:52 AM
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Fatherhood gets into the head

A Princeton University study aimed at understanding the influences of paternity on the brain, delved into the primate world, based on the strength of their close resemblance with humans. Tiny monkeys called marmosets, whose brains are pretty complex, have lent a valuable insight into how fatherhood can actually instigate changes in the brain.

Researchers found that there were structural changes in the brain of the marmoset fathers in comparison with non-fathers, where the brain of the monkeys displayed an affinity with a hormone that promotes learning. In addition, the scientists observed that the marmoset fathers carry the babies nearly 70% of the time, during the first month. They discovered that the brains of marmoset fathers combined the strengths of a large number of receptors associated with a hormone called vasopressin, a known neuropeptide, which has a distinct relationship with parental behavior.

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Scientists cannot yet say with conviction about father hood impact on the brain of humans, but this study has sure left certain blanks that need to be filled after detailed human studies in this area.

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