Having children changes a man. All of us know examples of that. I’m pretty sure, for instance, that the only time I ever saw my father sing was to his kids. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was pure Dad. But is there something about fatherhood that actually changes the male brain? Studies suggest that it does, including one published a few years ago which found that new sets of neurons formed in brains of mouse dads that stayed around the nest after their pups were born. Still, there’s much yet to be learned about the effects of being a father. And so scientists continue to explore the eternal question: “What’s with this guy?” Here are 10 recent studies deconstructing dad:
1.The upside to an old old man: So what if they’re only good for one throw in a game of catch. Old fathers can do something for their kids that young dads can’t–pass on genes that give them a better shot at a long life. A study published earlier this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says children of older fathers–men who wait until their late 30s to have children–inherit longer telomeres, caps at the end of the chromosomes that protect them from degeneration. And that seems to to promote slower aging and likely a longer lifespan for those kids.
2. See what I do for you?: Most dads know they’re going have to make a few sacrifices for their kids, but lose testosterone? Who knew? A recent study of 600 men in the Philippines found that testosterone levels dropped considerably after they fathered children. Scientists were quick to counter the notion that raising kids makes someone a less manly man and instead concluded that men’s bodies helped them evolve hormonal systems that make it easier to commit to their families. And the men who spent the most time taking care of their kids had the lowest testosterone levels, suggesting that biology helps them shift into parent mode.