The Loh Down On Science

Why men should train to be dads

Yin et al., Beh. Brain Res., 2013

Left: images of 4 different areas of the hippocampus from control mice (top) and exercising mice (bottom). Exercising mice had greater density of cells, shown as brown spots. This is difficult to see, so look at graph on right where density is represented by a bar graph, with shaded bars for exercising mice.

Hey, all you Dads-to-be?  Here’s something you need to do . . . for smarter kids!
 
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Moms who exercise during pregnancy benefit their eventual newborn's brain function.  But what about dads? 

New research from Tianjin Medical University, in China, shows it may help if dad gets off the couch and starts moving, too . . . That is, before he gets Mom pregnant.

The team divided sibling mice into two groups.  One group exercised on a motor-driven treadmill five days a week for six weeks.  The other?  Didn't.

After the training was done, all the males were mated to . . .  their sisters.  Weird, yes, but it keeps the genetics simpler.  Later, their incestuous progeny were tested, brain and body.
 
Results?  The male offspring of treadmill-running dads had better spatial learning and memory than males of more sedentary pops.  Female offspring?  Showed no significant difference.

The, uh, "enhanced" males had increases in two proteins that help cells thrive as the brain develops.

So all you potential dads, maybe it’s time you hit the road.  Or the gym.

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