Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gender-Specific Differences Found In Human Brain

Date:
April 22, 1999
Source:
American Academy Of Neurology
Summary:
Men and women's brains are distinctly different. While men have more neurons in the cerebral cortex, the brain's outer layer, women have more neuropil, which contains the processes allowing cell communication. Research showing these gender-specific differences was presented during the American Academy of Neurology 51st Annual Meeting this week in Toronto.

Toronto (April 20, 1999) -- Men and women's brains are distinctly different. While men have more neurons in the cerebral cortex, the brain's outer layer, women have more neuropil, which contains the processes allowing cell communication. Research showing these gender-specific differences was presented during the American Academy of Neurology 51st Annual Meeting April 17 -- 24, 1999, in Toronto.

"The cerebral cortex is responsible for voluntary movements, perception of sensory input and of highly complex functions such as memory, learning, reasoning and language," said Gabrielle de Courten-Myers, MD, study author and associate professor of neuropathology at the University of Cincinnati. "Males possess more tightly packed and more numerous nerve cells (neurons) than females. Neurons send and receive electrical signals that influence many functions of the body and create thoughts and feelings. Females tend to have more neuropil, the fibular tissue that fills the space between nerve cell bodies and contains mainly nerve cell processes (synapses, dendrites and axons) that enable neurons to communicate with numerous other nerve cells."

This research may explain previous findings that women are more prone to dementing illnesses than are men. Although a man and woman may lose the same number of neurons due to a disease, such as dementia, the woman's functional loss may be greater because the cells lost are more densely connected with other neurons. Added de Courten-Myers, "Conversely, in males, the 'functional reserve' may be greater as a larger number of nerve cells are present, which could prevent some of the functional losses."

Although these gender-specific variations cause tangible differences in how the brain functions, one type is not "better" or "worse" than the other. Said de Courten-Myers, "It seems reasonable to assume that specific functions may benefit from the presence of more cells while others may be enhanced by a larger number of connections between them. A better understanding of these issues may potentially affect a wide spectrum of human activities such as health care, psychology and teaching."

The researchers measured the cortex thickness and counted nerve cells from various sites within the healthy brains of 17 deceased subjects (10 males and seven females).

"The recognition of gender-specific ways of thinking and feeling -- rendered more credible given these established differences -- could prove beneficial in enhancing interpersonal relationships." Said de Courten-Myers, "However, the interpretation of the data also has the potential for abuse and harm if either gender would seek to construct evidence for superiority of the male or female brain from these findings."

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 15,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy Of Neurology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy Of Neurology. "Gender-Specific Differences Found In Human Brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990422061106.htm>.
American Academy Of Neurology. (1999, April 22). Gender-Specific Differences Found In Human Brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990422061106.htm
American Academy Of Neurology. "Gender-Specific Differences Found In Human Brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990422061106.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins