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Brain Structure May Dictate Behavior

Posted Mar 09 2014 10:08pm
Posted on March 6, 2014, 6 a.m. in Brain and Mental Performance Behavior Mental Health
An overview of average regional sex differences in grey matter volume. Areas of larger volumes in women are in red and areas of larger volume in men are in blue. - photo by Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews

In that the prevalence, age of onset, and symptomology of neuropsychiatric conditions often differs between men and women, Amber Ruigrok, from Cambridge University (United Kingdom), and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 126 published studies in which brain volumes of males and females, ranging in age from birth to 80 years, were completed. The researchers found that, on average, man had larger brain volumes (by up to 13%), as compared to women. Men also had larger absolute volumes of intracranial space, total brain, cerebral, gray matter, white matter, cerebral spinal fluid regions, and cerebellum, as compared to women. Interestingly, the team observed differences in volume between the sexes to be located in parts of the limbic system and language system - loving them to observe that: "Regional sex differences in volume and tissue density include the amygdala, hippocampus and insula, areas known to be implicated in sex-biased neuropsychiatric conditions.”  The study authors conclude that: "these results suggest candidate regions for investigating the asymmetric effect that sex has on the developing brain, and for understanding sex-biased neurological and psychiatric conditions.”`

Ruigrok AN, Salimi-Khorshidi G, Lai MC, Baron-Cohen S, Lombardo MV, Tait RJ, Suckling J.  “A meta-analysis of sex differences in human brain structure.”  Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013 Dec 26.

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