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Women 'have more active brains than men'

Women 'have more active brains than men'

Women have healthier and busier brains than men, study findings have concluded.

In the largest functional brain imaging study to date, researchers at the Amen Clinics in California compared 46,034 brain SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) images provided by nine clinics.

Subjects included 119 healthy volunteers and over 26,600 patients with a variety of psychiatric conditions such as brain trauma, bipolar disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia/psychotic disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A total of 128 brain regions were analysed for subjects at baseline and while performing a concentration task.

In their analysis, the academics discovered that the brains of women were significantly more active in many more areas of the brain than men, especially in the prefrontal cortex, involved with focus and impulse control, and the limbic or emotional areas of the brain, involved in mood and anxiety.

However, the visual and coordination centres of the brain were more active in men.

Lead author Dr. Daniel G. Amen commented that the results will prove to be an important resource for helping to understand 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," he said. "Using functional neuroimaging tools, such as SPECT, are essential to developing precision medicine brain treatments in the future."

The study findings of increased prefrontal cortex blood flow in women compared to men may explain why women tend to exhibit greater strengths in the areas of empathy, intuition, collaboration, self-control, and appropriate concern.

"(Researchers) also found increased blood flow in limbic areas of the brains of women, which may also partially explain why women are more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, insomnia, and eating disorders," a report stated.

The study full results have been published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

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