About the episode
In mouse mothers in the final stage of pregnancy, hormones ensure that neurons make different connections. Researchers say these changes may be permanent.
You can compare it a little to milk production that has already begun; It is preparation for the baby’s arrival. In the case of the brain, estrogen causes a change in the behavior of some neurons and progesterone creates new connections.
These changes occur in an area of the brain associated with the maternal instinct. In mice, this ensures that the focus shifts from searching for a mate to caring for the young. Mice with neurons insensitive to these hormones showed no grooming behavior at birth.
The assumption is that a similar effect could be found in humans. In previous studies on pregnant women, brain scans also showed changes in brain size and activity. Changes that last long after pregnancy.
Of course, raising children for a mouse is very different from raising a human. For example, we receive help, information and guidance, which may mean that we have to rely less on the effects of hormones. Many processes in the human body also play a role in the maternal instinct.
The researchers hope this discovery will provide important insights into parental behavior and something like postpartum depression.
Read more about the research here: The study indicates that pregnancy leads to permanent regeneration of the brain