New Study Shows Brain Differences in Men and Women

Wikimedia Commons ImagePET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer's disease

A new study shows that women's brains are more active than men's, possibly explaining why women tend to be more vulnerable to various diseases. The researchers examined more than 45,000 studies to see the brain differences between men and women, and the brain scans revealed that activity is actually higher in females than in the other sex.

The study was conducted by researchers at Amen Clinics in California who looked through 46,034 brain single photon emission computer tomography (SPECT) imaging studies to determine the differences between men and women's brains in a number of its regions. The researchers analyzed 128 brain regions while performing a concentration task.

In a statement, psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen, who authored the study, said their findings were key to understanding gender-based brain differences.

"The quantifiable differences we identified between men and women are important for understanding gender-based risk for brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Using functional neuroimaging tools, such as SPECT, is essential to developing precision medicine brain treatments in the future," he said.

During the study, they discovered that the blood flow in women's brains was significantly higher in several parts than that in men's. This was noticeable in the prefrontal cortex, which is primarily concerned with focus and impulse control, and the limbic areas of the brain, which are related to one's mood and anxiety. According to the researchers, this phenomenon explains why women have the ability to focus and empathize more than men, although this also makes them more vulnerable to anxiety.

The study also found that when it comes to the visual and coordination centers of the brain, men were more active than women. Also, while women have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, depression and anxiety, men are more likely to have ADHD and conduct-related problems. The latter also has a higher tendency to be imprisoned.