Study: Male and female brains operate differently at a molecular level


    Study: Male and female brains operate differently at a molecular level

  • 1 A study reveals that gender plays a role in how a brain operates on a molecular level

    A study done at Northwestern University shows how brain regions involved in learning, memory, stress responses and epilepsy operate differently at a molecular level depending on gender.

  • 2 The study 'Sex Differences in Molecular Signaling at Inhibitory Synapses in the Hippocampus' was published

    The study 'Sex Differences in Molecular Signaling at Inhibitory Synapses in the Hippocampus' was published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2015.

  • 3 The importance of the study is to see how sex differences in the brain can make biology and medicine relevant to everyone

    Catherine S. Woolley, senior author of the study, said 'The importance of studying sex differences in the brain is about making biology and medicine relevant to everyone, to both men and women.' 

  • 4 A study found that genders have different regulation synapses in the hippocampus

    A study found differences between males and females in the molecular regulation of synapses in the hippocampus. It is now believed that female and male brains may respond differently to drugs targeting certain synaptic pathways.

  • 5 Study found a drug had a certain effect on females but not on males

    This study found a drug called URB-597, which regulates a molecule important in neurotransmitter release, had an effect in females that wasn't present in males. The study found out that the difference lies in the interaction between the molecules ERalpha and mGluR1.

  • 6 Catherine S. Woolley, senior author of the study, is a professor of neurobiology

    Catherine S. Woolley is the William Deering Chair in Biological Sciences, professor of neurobiology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Women's Health Research Institute at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

  • 7 The study was done on animals so it is not certain if it translates to humans

    Woolley said, 'We don't know whether this finding will translate to humans or not, but right now people who are investigating endocannabinoids in humans probably are not aware that manipulating these molecules could have different effects in males and females.'

  • 8 Woolley actively avoided studying sex differences in the brain

    Woolley actively avoided studying sex differences in the brain for 20 years until her own data pointed that differences between females and males were real.

  • 9 'I had to change my mind in the face of this evidence'

    Woolley said, 'Being a scientist is about changing your mind in the face of new evidence. I had to change my mind in the face of this evidence.'

  • 10 85% of neuroscience studies are done on male animals

    Currently, 85% of neuroscience studies are done on male animals, while the remaining 15% falls on females and both genders. 

  • 11 'Scientists need to study both sexes'

    Woolley said 'To find out what is the same and what is different between males and females, scientists need to study both sexes. We are not doing women-and specifically women's health-any favors by pretending that things are the same if they are not.'