History of childbirths relates to region-specific brain aging patterns in middle and older-aged women
de Lange A-MG., Barth C., Kaufmann T., Anatürk M., SURI S., EBMEIER K., Westlye LT.
Pregnancy involves maternal brain adaptations, but little is known about how parity 14 influences women’s brain aging trajectories later in life. In this study, we replicated previous 15 findings showing less apparent brain aging in women with a history of childbirths, and identified 16 regional brain aging patterns linked to parity in 19,787 middle and older-aged women. Using 17 novel applications of brain-age prediction methods, we found that a higher number of previous 18 childbirths was linked to less apparent brain aging in striatal and limbic regions. The strongest 19 effect was found in the accumbens - a key region in the mesolimbic reward system, which plays 20 an important role in maternal behavior. While only prospective longitudinal studies would be 21 conclusive, our findings indicate that subcortical brain modulations during pregnancy and 22 postpartum may be traceable decades after childbirth.