How Our Brains Differ
The neuroscience literature shows that the human brain is a sex-typed organ with distinct anatomical differences in neural structures and accompanying physiological differences in function, says UC-Irvine professor of neurobiology and behavior Larry Cahill, PhD. Cahill edited the 70-article January/February 2017 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience Research the first-ever issue of any neuroscience journal devoted entirely to the influence of sex differences on nervous-system function.
Brain-imaging studies indicate that these differences extend well beyond the strictly reproductive domain, Cahill says. Adjusted for total brain size , a womans hippocampus, critical to learning and memorization, is larger than a mans and works differently. Conversely, a mans amygdala, associated with the experiencing of emotions and the recollection of such experiences, is bigger than a womans. It, too, works differently, as Cahills research has demonstrated.
Discoveries like this one should ring researchers alarm buzzers. Women, its known, retain stronger, more vivid memories of emotional events than men do. They recall emotional memories more quickly, and the ones they recall are richer and more intense. If, as is likely, the amygdala figures into depression or anxiety, any failure to separately analyze mens and womens brains to understand their different susceptibilities to either syndrome would be as self-defeating as not knowing left from right.
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Female brain shrinks after birth and it takes months for it to return to the natural size if it does And im pretty sure that after a few weeks with no sex women and men think about it the same amount of times..
Female brain Is very Beautiful. I stay with onw ao i see daily. Loves
Oh really !!!! Surprised to read it.I was thinking I am the most intelligent being a male and all females have always shrunken brain.lolz
The Bell Curve applies to the generalizations. There are always the small percentage that are out of the majority.
Wow, I was just waiting for all the hardcore feminists in the comments section complaining about this and I have to say, Im a little disappointed
Awww come on peeps, life is fun and data biases Bell curves, Our anatomies somehow always manage to find a way to continue our species, at least so far. No need to get bent. Read it, do more research if wished, get many Expert opinions and somehow your brain will process it as its wont. Think about it. Talking is fun, eating is fun, drinking is fun, and sex is fun. Mother Nature seemed to have figured it all out, so have fun. Getting bent is Not fun, in my book. I am a Male, father of three, was married 57 years and still love women for and mostly for all their foibles.
How Brain Connections Are Built
Starting from birth, children develop brain connections through their everyday experiences. Theyre built through positive interactions with their parents and caregivers and by using their senses to interact with the world. A young childs daily experiences determine which brain connections develop and which will last for a lifetime. The amount and quality of care, stimulation and interaction they receive in their early years makes all the difference.
The Brain Continues To Develop Beyond Adolescence
Posted August 17, 2011
When we think about brain development and plasticity, most of us think about the birth and death of neurons or changes in the number or strength of synapses. Yet, no part of the brain works in isolation. Brain maturation and plasticity also depends upon the large nerve fiber tracts that connect different brain regions together. These include the corpus callosum that link the two cerebral hemispheres, tracts that connect the cerebral cortex and lower brain areas and spinal cord, and “association” tracts that connect different parts of the cerebral cortex together. Strikingly, all long association fiber pathways have a terminus in the frontal lobes of the cerebral cortex, a brain region involved with emotional regulation, social behavior, attention, and planning. No other part of the brain is so richly connected.
When do the large fiber tracts mature in the human brain? The axons of long fiber tracts are surrounded by myelin, a fatty material that speeds up the conduction of nerve impulses. Since the presence of myelin gives the axons a whitish appearance in preserved specimens of the brain, these large fiber tracts are also called “white matter.” Sensitive brain imaging methods, such as diffusion tensor imaging, can measure changes in myelination throughout the lifespan.
The Changes Of The Brain During Development
The brain experiences major growth and changing from adolescence until adulthood. There are a couple key ways by which the brain changes during stages of development. Those stages include:
Myelin is a fatty white substance that surrounds the axon of some nerve cells, forming an electrically insulating layer. It is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. The production of the myelin sheath is called myelination or myelinogenesis. This process appears among humans begins in the 14th week of fetal development, although myelin exists in the childs brain from the moment of birth. During infancy, myelination occurs quickly and continues to the adolescent stage of life. The loss of myelin sheath can cause some neurodegenerative autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis, transverse myelitis, central pontine myelinolysis, inherited demyelinating diseases such as leukodystrophy, Charcot Marie Tooth disease and many others.
The connection between brain regions is more strengthened, making communication more efficient. The brain is able to transmit greater amounts of information between regions.
Logical Thinking And Organized Thinking. As we get older , it gets much easier to organize things and solve some harder math problems. The organization and logical thinking are also one of the results of developed prefrontal cortex.
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What Are The Detrimental Influences Upon Brain Development
Many people are exposed to things that may have a detrimental impact on the development of their brain. Those detrimental influences include alcohol and drug abuse, chronic stress, poor diet, social isolation, sleep problems and even certain relationship troubles. All of these issues affect the daily life of modern young teenagers, and they might become a big problem. Thats exactly why it is strongly recommended for them to minimize exposure to problematic stimuli and scenarios.
Hot And Cold Cognition
Perhaps because of the relative ease of quantifying hormonal levels in animal models, it is tempting to attribute all adolescent behavioral changes to âraging hormones.â More nuanced investigations of adolescent behavior seek to understand the specific mechanisms by which hormones affect neural circuitry and to discern these processes from nonhormonal developmental changes. An important aspect of this work is the distinction between âhotâ and âcoldâ cognition. Hot cognition refers to conditions of high emotional arousal or conflict this is often the case for the riskiest of adolescent behaviors . Most research to date has captured information in conditions of âcold cognitionâ . Like impulse control and sensation seeking, hot and cold cognition are subserved by different neuronal circuits and have different developmental courses . Thus, adolescent maturity of judgment and its putative biological determinants are difficult to disentangle from socioemotional context.
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What Happens To Your Brain When You Turn 25
After the dramatic growth spurts of your childhood and teenage years, by the age of 25 your brain has hit peak performance. Its also at its heaviest around 1.3kg and the best it will ever be at storing, cross-referencing and recalling information.
The Teen Brain: 6 Things To Know
Figure 1. The brain reaches its largest size in the early teen years, but continues to mature well into the 20s.
As you learn about brain development during adolescence, consider these six facts from the The National Institute of Mental Health:
Your brain does not keep getting bigger as you get older
For girls, the brain reaches its largest physical size around 11 years old and for boys, the brain reaches its largest physical size around age 14. Of course, this difference in age does not mean either boys or girls are smarter than one another!
But that doesnt mean your brain is done maturing
For both boys and girls, although your brain may be as large as it will ever be, your brain doesnt finish developing and maturing until your mid- to late-20s. The front part of the brain, called the prefrontal cortex, is one of the last brain regions to mature. It is the area responsible for planning, prioritizing and controlling impulses.
The teen brain is ready to learn and adapt
In a digital world that is constantly changing, the adolescent brain is well prepared to adapt to new technologyand is shaped in return by experience.
Many mental disorders appear during adolescence
All the big changes the brain is experiencing may explain why adolescence is the time when many mental disorderssuch as schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and eating disordersemerge.
The teen brain is resilient
Teens need more sleep than children and adults
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Brain Development In Adolescence
Current studies demonstrate that brain structures and processes change throughout adolescence and, indeed, across the life course . These findings have been facilitated by imaging technologies such as structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging . Much of the popular discussion about adolescent brain development has focused on the comparatively late maturation of the frontal lobes , although recent work has broadened to the increasing âconnectivityâ of the brain.
Throughout childhood and into adolescence, the cortical areas of the brain continue to thicken as neural connections proliferate. In the frontal cortex, gray matter volumes peak at approximately 11 years of age in girls and 12 years of age in boys, reflecting dendritic overproduction . Subsequently, rarely used connections are selectively pruned making the brain more efficient by allowing it to change structurally in response to the demands of the environment . Pruning also results in increased specialization of brain regions however, the loss of gray matter that accompanies pruning may not be apparent in some parts of the brain until young adulthood . In general, loss of gray matter progresses from the back to the front of the brain with the frontal lobes among the last to show these structural changes .
Bridging Science And Policy
So how can science be used to benefit the greater whole of society, and encourage adolescents to become productive and, yes, mature members of society? The key, Casey says, is for scientists and lawmakers to work closely together to ensure findings are interpreted and applied accurately. Richard Bonnie, director of the Institute of Law, Psychiatry, and Public Policy at the University of Virginia, says that using the science to direct policy isnt an impossibilityand it doesnt have to be complicated once you disconnect from the idea that there is a single age of maturity. He argues there is too much distance between what we now understand about the neurobiological nature of brain development and our current set of age-governed laws and public policies.
Accountability is important developmentally, toopart of successful development is learning to take responsibility for your behaviorso that also needs to be considered, he says. We have an opportunity to use the science to figure out how we can best help offending individuals become productive members of society.
Bryer agreesand hopes what we are learning about brain development will help reform the juvenile justice system away from punishment and toward more rehabilitation-oriented policies.
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May Explain Why Women More Likely To Stay Mentally Sharp In Later Years
- Washington University School of Medicine
- Women’s brains appear to be three years younger than men’s of the same age, according to a new study on brain metabolism. The findings could explain why women maintain their cognitive skills longer than men.
Time wears differently on women’s and men’s brains. While the brain tends to shrink with age, men’s diminish faster than women’s. The brain’s metabolism slows as people grow older, and this, too, may differ between men and women.
A new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis finds that women’s brains appear to be about three years younger than men’s of the same chronological age, metabolically speaking. The findings, available online the week of Feb. 4 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could be one clue to why women tend to stay mentally sharp longer than men.
“We’re just starting to understand how various sex-related factors might affect the trajectory of brain aging and how that might influence the vulnerability of the brain to neurodegenerative diseases,” said senior author Manu Goyal, MD, an assistant professor of radiology at the university’s Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology. “Brain metabolism might help us understand some of the differences we see between men and women as they age.”
The relative youthfulness of women’s brains was detectable even among the youngest participants, who were in their 20s.
How The Brain Changes During Development
From early stages of adolescence into adulthood, the brain experiences major growth and pruning. Initial developments begin near the back of the cortex, and tend to finish in the frontal areas . There are a couple key ways by which the brain changes during various stages of development including: myelination as well as synaptic pruning.
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Adolescent Maturity And Policy In The Real World: Scientific Complexity Meets Policy Reality
The most prominent use of neuroscience research in adolescent social policy was the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court Case, Roper vs. Simmons, which has been described as the âBrown v. Board of Education of âneurolaw,ââ recalling the case that ended racial segregation in American schools . In that case, 17-year-old Christopher Simmons was convicted of murdering a woman during a robbery. Ultimately, he was sentenced to death for his crime. Simmonsâ defense team argued that he did not have a specific, diagnosable brain condition, but rather that his still-developing adolescent brain made him less culpable for his crime and therefore not subject to the death penalty. Amicus briefs were filed by, among others, by the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association summarizing the existing neuroscience evidence and suggesting that adolescentsâ still-developing brains made them fundamentally different from adults in terms of culpability.
The AMA brief argued that: âdolescentsâ behavioral immaturity mirrors the anatomical immaturity of their brains. To a degree never before understood, scientists can now demonstrate that adolescents are immature not only to the observerâs naked eye, but in the very fibers of their brainsââ . . The neuroscientific evidence is thought to have carried significant weight in the Courtâs decision to overturn the death penalty for juveniles .
What Does Having An Older Brain Mean
Its unclear so far if there is significance to having a younger brain.
This research is a first of its kind and the authors of the study are only beginning to explore what they might use this data to understand and predict.
Its not that mens brains age faster. They start adulthood about three years older than women and that persists throughout life, says Dr. Manu Goyal, an assistant professor of radiology at Washington Universitys Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology and an assistant professor of neurology and of neuroscience. What we dont know is what it means. I think this could mean that the reason women dont experience as much cognitive decline in later years is because their brains are effectively younger, and were currently working on a study to confirm that.
The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, is seen as an important step toward understanding gender differences in health and medicine.
This study theorizes that factors that influence brain development, including sexual differences, and exposure to different hormonal, inflammatory, and immunological environments during development, might be very important in determining how brain aging actually plays out, says Dr. Verna R. Porter, a neurologist and director of the Alzheimers disease program at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in California.
Men and women alike can take steps to improve their brain health.
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Neuronal Plasticity And Neurocircuitry
The term plasticity refers to the possible significant neuronal changes that occur in the acquisition of new skills. These skills initiate the process of elaboration and stabilization of synaptic circuitry as part of the learning process. Plasticity permits adolescents to learn and adapt in order to acquire independence however, plasticity also increases an individuals vulnerability toward making improper decisions because the brains region-specific neurocircuitry remains under construction, thus making it difficult to think critically and rationally before making complex decisions. Moreover, the neurocircuitry may be forged, refined or weakened, and damaged during plasticity. Thus, neuronal proliferation, rewiring, dendritic pruning, and environmental exposure are important components of brain plasticity during adolescence. A significant portion of brain growth and development occurring in adolescence is the construction and strengthening of regional neurocircuitry and pathways in particular, the brain stem, cerebellum, occipital lobe, parietal lobe, frontal lobe, and temporal lobe actively mature during adolescence. The frontal lobes are involved in movement control, problem solving, spontaneity, memory, language, initiation, judgment, impulse control, and social and sexual behavior. Furthermore, the prefrontal cortex, which is implicated in drug-seeking behavior, remains in a process of continuous reconstruction, consolidation, and maturation during adolescence.