Health Mag



Interesting Medical Breakthrough


BRIDGING THE GENDER GAP Ľ Thanks to improved imaging techniques and testing methods, the biological evidence of gender differences in human brains is emerging rapidly. Now researchers are able to compare what happens within menís and womenís heads as they listen, think, remember, and talk. Here are a few of their findings.

  • Men have fewer nerve cel in the left half of the brain, the seat of the ability to process language than women. This is significant because, in the brain, quantity of cells often correlates with quality. In a gymnastís brain, for example, the balance and motor skills region is larger than in a nongymnastís and the more the gymnast practices, the bigger it gets.

  • Women have a greater degree of connectivity between the two halves of the brain , and the network of fibres that connect their right and left brains (the corpus callosum) is larger. This may explain an unusual difference, the significance of which scientists donít yet fully understand: the sexes prosess single words similarly, but when interpreting sentence, men use a single specific area on one side of the brain; women mobilize the same area, but in the right and left parts of the brain.

  • Women appear to use more of their brains to listen and speak. That doesnít make women better listeners or speakers, but the increased accessibility they have to some parts of their brains may make activities essential to communication easier for them.

  • Following a distressing event, men tend to experience stress less intensely than women do. Researchers attribute this anomaly to the presence of estrogen, which activates a larger field of neurons in women during an upsetting experience.

  • Women are better at tasks that require memorization because their higher level of estrogen is associated with improved learning and memory.

  • Men can sometimes better identify straightforward emotions such as rage and aggression in othersí facial expressions and tone of voice than women can. This may be a holdover from the days when men had to assess aggression in other males so they could speedily arrange a defense. But men donít score as high as women in picking up on subtle nonverbal cues that telegraph sadness or fear. One of the most encouraging discoveries thus far is that the gender gap in brain function narrows as couples age. Researchers speculate this improvement in compatibility may occur because of the time spent with each other, learning from one another and in so doing become more alike.



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