Boys' and Girls' Brains React Totally Differently to Trauma

Biologically opposite, in fact
By Daniel Kay,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 15, 2016 3:34 PM CST
Boys' and Girls' Brains React Totally Differently to Trauma
In this 2014 file photo, a brain-scanning MRI machine at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

A new study into male and female reactions to childhood trauma has revealed an interesting difference between the sexes, Live Science reports. The anterior circular sulcus—a region of the brain associated with emotional awareness and empathy—was larger in boys who had experienced trauma versus a control group who hadn't, while in girls who had experienced trauma, the same region was actually smaller than the control group. The researchers said their findings emphasized that the sexes experienced post-traumatic recovery in different ways, PsychCentral reports.

The study was conducted by researchers at Stanford Medical School and was published in the journal Depression and Anxiety. The researchers used structural magnetic resonance imagining (sMRI) to examine the brains of 59 children (29 in the control group, 30 in the test group) between the ages of nine and 17. With such a small, broad group, the researchers were hesitant to draw any firm conclusions, saying that further, more specific research was needed to prove a causation. Says the lead author: "Our findings suggest it is possible that boys and girls could exhibit different trauma symptoms and that they might benefit from different approaches to treatment." (More medical research stories.)

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