The study from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), conducted on mice, is the first study to link father absenteeism with social attributes and to correlate these with physical changes in the brain.
Senior author Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, a researcher of the Mental Illness and Addiction Axis at the RI-MUHC, said that although they used mice, the findings are extremely relevant to humans. They used California mice which, like in some human populations, are monogamous and raise their offspring together.
Dr. Gobbi and her colleagues compared the social behaviour and brain anatomy of mice that had been raised with both parents to those that had been raised only by their mothers.
Mice raised without a father had abnormal social interactions and were more aggressive than counterparts raised with both parents. These effects were stronger for female offspring than for their brothers. Females raised without fathers also had a greater sensitivity to the stimulant drug, amphetamine.
The study was published in the journal Cerebral Cortex.
--ANI (Posted on 05-12-2013)