Three really interesting brain imaging studies were reported this week. I post news articles from each, and the NCBI link for those available, some are ahead of press, so I couldn’t post those, but looked through them.
1) A small study showed that women have significant decreases in brain activity during a multi-tasking task using fMRI following chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. This study may validate complaints of cognitive impairment after chemotherapy (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/05/27/us-chemo-brain-mri-idUKKBN0E72IV20140527).
2) Children with new-onset diabetic ketoacidosis show morphological and functional changes that impact gray and white matter over a period of 6-months using MRI (http://www.techtimes.com/articles/7573/20140526/type-1-diabetes-complication-can-shrink-brain-children-young-adults-says-new-study.htm) (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24855156).
3) This in-depth study analyzed changes in the brains of parents that are involved in primary or secondary care of children using fMRI. In addition to imaging, subjects were also analyzed for parental behavior and hormonal levels. This study compared changes in the brain associated with caregiving of mothers that were primary-caregivers, fathers that were secondary-caregivers, and fathers that were primary-caregivers. To make things more interesting, the authors compared heterosexual mothers (primary) and heterosexual fathers (secondary), to homosexual fathers (primary). The study defined brain networks (mentalizing and emotional processing) involved in caregiving and found that gay fathers have brain changes similar to mothers in the emotional processing network and similar to fathers in the mentalizing network. Essentially gay fathers have co-activation of both networks… super dad. Personally, I would love to see comparisons with heterosexual fathers (primary), heterosexual mothers (secondary), and homosexual mothers (both primary and secondary), but I realize this is probably beyond the scope of a single paper (http://news.yahoo.com/gay-dads-brains-show-activity-akin-both-parents-194429293.html).