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Titel:Interrelated effects of age and parenthood on whole-brain controllability: protective effects of parenthood in mothers
Autor:Jamalabadi, Hamidreza
Weitere Verfasser:Hahn, Tim; Winter, Nils R.; Nozari, Erfan; Ernsting, Jan; Meinert, Susanne; Leehr, Elisabeth J.; Dohm, Katharina; Bauer, Jochen; Pfarr, Julia-Katharina; Stein, Frederike; Thomas-Odenthal, Florian; Brosch, Katharina; Mauritz, Marco; Gruber, Marius; Repple, Jonathan; Kaufmann, Tobias; Krug, Axel; Nanadi´c, Igor; Kircher, Tilo; Dannlowski, Udo; Derntl, Birgit
URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:04-es2024-07733


diffusion tensor imaging, network control theory, brain, aging, parenthood

Background: Controllability is a measure of the brain’s ability to orchestrate neural activity which can be quantified in terms of properties of the brain’s network connectivity. Evidence from the literature suggests that aging can exert a general effect on whole-brain controllability. Mounting evidence, on the other hand, suggests that parenthood and motherhood in particular lead to long-lasting changes in brain architecture that effectively slow down brain aging. We hypothesize that parenthood might preserve brain controllability properties from aging. Methods: In a sample of 814 healthy individuals (aged 33.9 ± 12.7 years, 522 females), we estimate whole-brain controllability and compare the aging effects in subjects with vs. those without children. We use diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to estimate the brain structural connectome. The level of brain control is then calculated from the connectomic properties of the brain structure. Specifically, we measure the network control over many low-energy state transitions (average controllability) and the network control over difficult-to-reach states (modal controllability). Results and conclusion: In nulliparous females, whole-brain average controllability increases, and modal controllability decreases with age, a trend that we do not observe in parous females. Statistical comparison of the controllability metrics shows that modal controllability is higher and average controllability is lower in parous females compared to nulliparous females. In men, we observed the same trend, but the difference between nulliparous and parous males do not reach statistical significance. Our results provide strong evidence that parenthood contradicts aging effects on brain controllability and the effect is stronger in mothers.

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