Puberty: Different boys and girls

Puberty: Different boys and girls

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Different blood flow to the brain during puberty

Different characteristics are often attributed to the sexes: men are less sensitive or women are more social. A study may now have found an explanation for such differences. The researchers found that the brain blood flow in boys and girls developed differently during puberty.

Brain perfusion in women more than in men The brains of girls and boys develop in opposite directions during puberty. From this time on, the female brain is better supplied with blood than the male. Researchers led by Theodore Satterthwaite from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia found particularly clear differences between the sexes for certain brain regions. As you suspect in the journal "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" ("PNAS"), the differences could be related to the susceptibility to mental illness. The team of scientists writes: “Blood flow is a fundamental property of brain processes and is known to be stronger in women than in men in adulthood.”

Blood flow to the brain decreases during childhood In order to find out how the differences come about, the researchers measured 922 adolescents between the ages of eight and 22 years using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other imaging methods to measure blood flow in various phases of puberty. They came to the conclusion that cerebral blood flow in early puberty, i.e. around the age of twelve, decreased equally in both girls and boys. It had previously been known that blood flow to the brain decreased during childhood. While more than 100 milliliters of blood flow through 100 grams of brain per minute in children, this amount tends to be only about half as much in adults.

Differences between the sexes from the middle phase of puberty However, from the middle phase of puberty, i.e. around the age of 16, the scientists found differences between the sexes. The blood flow in boys continued to decrease, whereas in girls it increased slightly. This trend even increased in later puberty. As the researchers reported, the differences were most pronounced in brain regions such as the orbitofrontal cortex, which are linked to social behavior and the regulation of emotions: “We suspect that gender-specific changes in cerebral blood flow associated with puberty are related to the superiority of Women could be involved in these tasks. "

Findings could help research on mental illnesses The team led by Satterthwaite writes that the results could help in researching mental illnesses such as depression, which often occurs after puberty. According to this, future studies should check whether the better cerebral blood flow in young women is related to their increased risk of developing affect or anxiety disorders. It could also reduce the risk of schizophrenia. It could also be a first step in creating growth tables for normal brain development, the scientist says. You may be able to spot problems before they lead to serious illnesses.

Mystery of psychological instability during puberty Psychiatrist Satterthwaite explained: "Our results show when the differences in the brain begin, and maybe we can deduce which development steps are typical and at what age." But even if the new findings and those from other studies To stir up hope, it still remains an illusion that images of the brain can be used to solve the riddle of psychological instability during puberty. Even though adolescent mood swings have often been reduced to an increased hormone level, it is now known that this relationship exists but is not as strong as assumed. Rather, a combination of hormonal and situational factors is responsible for this. With the exception of the newly observed differences, the shape and structure of the brain show hardly any differences between the sexes. As the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" (SZ) writes, Jay Giedd of the National Health Institutes of the USA said: "You can't even tell the brain of a girl from that of a boy in these pictures." (Sb)

Image: Dieter Schütz /

Author and source information

Video: Puberty: The Hormones Involved. Physiology. Biology. FuseSchool


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  2. Juliano

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  3. Michele

    Wonderful, useful thought

  4. Vudogal

    It was interesting to see !!!

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