You are on page 1of 3

Brains of women and men show strong hard-wired differences

There is biology behind the gender gap, a study suggests. Male brains, above, show more connections within hemispheres, in blue, while inter-hemisphere connections, in orange, were more prevalent among females, below. (Perelman School of Medicine, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) December 3, 2013, 5:05 a.m.

A map of the human brain may in fact be a two-volume edition, divided by gender, according to a new study that found significant differences between how the male and female brains are hardwired. Males tended to have have stronger front-to-back circuits and links between perception and action, while women had stronger left-to-right links between reasoning and intuition, according to University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine researchers who imaged the brains of 949 adolescents and young adults. Their maps of the brain’s so-called connectome, published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, matched observed behavioral differences between the sexes. Women did better at tests of attention, word and face memory and cognition. Men did better on spatial processing, motor skills and sensorimotor speed. The results lend weight to growing evidence that humans have formed strong adaptive complementarity, suggesting that biological evolution predisposes the species to divide gender roles. That implication is sure to fuel debate over the roles of nature versus nurture and the interplay of

the Philadelphia cohort. who are part of a larger. Women also tended to have more connections among smaller-scale “modules. And the data jibe with findings from a 2011 UCLA study of twins that found women had stronger inter-hemispheric connections in several subregions of the frontal cortex. it says they are very heavily connected in the cerebellum. a University of Pennsylvania biomedical imaging analyst and lead author of the study. “They confirm a couple of our findings. Researchers cautioned that the imagery is an indirect measure of axons. or have stronger connectivity as a population. ages 8-22. the husband-wife team of Raquel and Ruben Gur. giving them a possible edge at translating perception to motor skills. Although such sex differences are important to the study. the men had greater connectivity within hemispheres. not a cell-by-cell census and map. lead author of the UCLA study. the study found. if there was a task that involved logical and i ntuitive thinking. And the results are strictly statistical averages. Women had more interconnections across the frontal lobes.” Men outnumber women by a 4-1 proporton among those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. and the front part of the brain interprets it and makes you perform an action. It’s not that one or the other gender lacks the connectivity altogether. you would be better at it. conducted with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. “There is biology to some of the behavior we see among men and women. a tool that can indirectly outline the path of myelinated axons.” said Neda Jahanshad . “For men. the study found. So if you had a task like skiing or learning a new sport. That means men may be quicker on the perception-action path. In the upper parts of the brain. . In the lower part of the brain. which is very exciting. They looked at the brains of 428 men and 521 women. was aimed predominantly at studying how brain maturation affects psychiatric disease.function and structure within the human brain. the cerebellum.” said Ragini Verma. men had stronger connections between hemispheres. long-term study known as the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort. although in a very large sample. The back side of the brain is the area by which you perceive things.” Verma said. which is an area that controls th e motor skills. while women had greater connection between sides. the study says that women are predisposed. and women have inter-hemispheric or left-right connectivity more than the men. for example.” Researchers used diffusion tensor imaging. while women better integrate the analytic side of the brain with the intuitive and social side. By age. But they also could inform treatment of neurological disorders known to vary by age and sex. the study found. so they should be better at it.” Verma said. The differences in the connectome have come to be called the hunter versus gatherer divide by two of the study’s main authors. the “wire” section of neurons that facilitate long-range conduction of electrochemical signals and are part of the brain’s white matter.” while men had stronger connections within those subregions. And they are connected front to back. “So. differences between male and female brains become sharp around adolescence but abated somewhat in young adulthood. “In the population. it’s just that one is stronger than the other. if you had stronger front-back connectivity and a very strong cerebellum connectivity. men have stronger front-back connectivity. such as autism and schizophrenia. who is now working at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. “This is interesting on a variety of levels because there have been sex differences noted among those with autism.

story#ixzz2maAyLPYe .latimes. She earned several advanced analytical math degrees.Individuals can vary widely by gender. But she has a rough time navigating by cardinal directions. http://www. something that Verma said she knows well. relying instead on memory and a heavily left-brained accomplishment.