Gender differences in brain specialization

Size Comparison:
It is generally seen that male brains are larger and heavier than female brains by around 10-12%. Male skulls are also a bit bigger on average. It is seen that mal brains are generally larger than female brains due to the fact that males are bigger in size than females Thus their brain needs to form more tissue to have more connections. Brain size was often used in the past as an indication for the male having a higher intelligence however studies have shown that brain size has a role to play in the body’s physiology. The size in the males is mostly because of the larger muscle mass, as muscles need nerve fibers to innervate them. When you observe the individual parts of the brain, it seems that there are a lot more dissimilarities in the inner functions of the brain. When the male brain is adjusted down to the size you can get a better estimation of the differences.

Grey matter to white matter ratio:

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Grey matter is the portion of the brain that contains a lot of cell bodies but few axons. This is typically the part of the brain where the majority of the processes take place. The white matter is the portion where the cell bodies are comparatively less but there are long myelinated axons.

Studies have shown that women have around ten times more white matter than males but men have 6 times more grey matter. This forms the foundation of differentiation between the two sexes. However, because women’s brains are smaller, the cells are more clustered together while the male brain has cells further apart. It’s also seen that women use white matter to think most of the time and men use grey and as a result, women tend to process things faster.

Differences in the structural and functional components of the brain:
Cerebral cortex: The cortex is the part of the brain where functions like perception, memory storage, emotional processing, and language recognition take place. This area is found all over the brain and it forms up an important region of the brain. It is generally seen that in the cortex of the brain, the male has around 4% more neurons as compared to the female. But it’s also seen that women have better-developed synapses and connections between the various neurons. Thus, it is possible that this is the reason why women are more likely to have dementia.

The hypothalamus is the region on the lower part of the brain which controls a lot of functions in the body. It contains the master gland of the body, the pituitary gland. This gland is responsible for all of the hormonal changes in the body. It controls the secretion of all of the major glands in the body and the hypothalamus provides a link between this gland and the rest of the brain. Because there are a lot of hormonal differences between males and females, it is seen that this organ also acts slightly differently. The preoptic area is the one that participates in mating behavior and it is generally larger in men. It is seen that it contains double the number of cells over here than the preoptic area in the males. The suprachiasmatic area is the part of the hypothalamus that regulates the reproductive cycles in the body. It is also responsible for circadian rhythm. The shape of this section is a bit different in males and females. Whereas the male suprachiasmatic area is round and spherical, the female has more of an elongated shape.

Importance of Gender differences in brain specialization:
Studying these differences could help us learn how to treat diseases in both sexes. This difference has a major role in helping the doctor figure out the kind of treatment that is needed. If medical researchers don’t take these differences into account, they won’t be able to come up with effective treatments. Neurology is a field of medicine where it is significant to study as much as you can.


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