Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Sex on the Brain?

Yet another study showing that a) male and female brains show some subtle differences but b) you have a continuum in these features with a great deal of overlap (http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/nov/30/brain-sex-men-from-mars-women-venus-not-so-says-new-study). This is hardly surprising as it has been known for decades that the developing brain is a product of genetics (largely the sex chromosomes); early hormone influences (the developing testis tends to blast the system with androgens before the ovaries get around to secreting), how people treat the maturing child seems to influence neural architecture and hormones at puberty/in adulthood play a role. Add to this that the timings of physiological (and experiential?) effects may influence the degree of change and you have a recipe for subtle variation. In deed, one could argue that such phenotypic variation would be useful to an adaptable species like our own.

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