Letter: Cost of children: brain drain

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The Independent Online
With reference to the current research on women's brains and the effects of pregnancy ("Another brainless idea", 12 January), I feel my own experience has something to add to the debate. Some years ago, following the birth of our first child, I postulated the Finite Brain Cells Theory (FBC). This reasons that each family unit (ie father and mother) has a finite number of brain cells. With the onset of pregnancy, as the foetus and later the child develops, the parents' brain capacity diminishes.

The brighter the child, therefore, the fewer brain cells are left for the parents; further children increase the drainage of parental brain capacity, as does the continuing intellectual development of the children. Given the biological link, it is natural that the effects of this diminuition would be first noticeable in the mother.

Far from decrying the suggested results of Holdcroft and Bidder's research, therefore, I would argue that further research is needed into querying the assumption that brain cells lost in these circumstances can be fully regained after childbirth and, particularly, in the field of how brain cells continue to be transferred from the father once conception has taken place.

Mark Benjamin

Hexham, Northumberland