Author(s): Bannbers E, Gingnell M, Engman J, Morell A, Sylvn S,
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Abstract The postpartum period is characterized by complex hormonal changes, but human imaging studies in the postpartum period have thus far predominantly focused on the neural correlates of maternal behavior or postpartum depression, whereas longitudinal studies on neural correlates of cognitive function across the postpartum period in healthy women are lacking. The aim of this study was to longitudinally examine response inhibition, as a measure of executive function, during the postpartum period and its neural correlates in healthy postpartum women and non-postpartum controls. Thirteen healthy postpartum women underwent event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging while performing a Go/NoGo task. The first assessment was made within 48 h of delivery, and the second at 4-7 weeks postpartum. In addition, 13 healthy women examined twice during the menstrual cycle were included as non-postpartum controls. In postpartum women region of interest analyses revealed task-related decreased activations in the right inferior frontal gyrus, right anterior cingulate, and bilateral precentral gyri at the late postpartum assessment. Generally, postpartum women displayed lower activity during response inhibition in the bilateral inferior frontal gyri and precentral gyri compared to non-postpartum controls. No differences in performance on the Go/NoGo task were found between time-points or between groups. In conclusion, this study has discovered that brain activity in prefrontal areas during a response inhibition task decreases throughout the course of the first postpartum weeks and is lower than in non-postpartum controls. Further studies on the normal adaptive brain activity changes that occur during the postpartum period are warranted. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Behav Brain Res
and referenced in Journal of Depression and Anxiety