Psychiatric risks differ for boys and girls
A new study has determined that during puberty, cerebral blood flow levels differ significantly in girls and boys--increasing in females and decreasing in males. And that may make them more susceptible to different psychiatric disorders.
Previous studies have shown that cerebral blood flow (CBF) declines in both sexes during childhood. But, for this study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, researchers looked at MRI images of the brain in more than 900 young people between the ages of 8 and 22.
The scientists discovered age-related differences in the amount and location of blood flow in males and females. At age 16, the CBF in males continued to decline while it increased in females. By the end of adolescence females had significantly higher CBF than males, which was most prominent in the area of the brain involved with social behavior and emotion regulation.
Researchers say this could put women at higher risk for depression and anxiety disorders, and men more at risk for schizophrenia.