The first meta-analysis of the evidence in difference in brain structure has revealed that men have larger total brain volumes than women, according to a study published by experts at the University of Cambridge.
The experts reviewed over 20 years of neuroscience research into sex differences in brain structure, and published their findings in the journal ‘Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews’.
The team, led by Amber Ruigrok, John Suckling and Simon Baron-Cohen from the Department of Psychiatry, performed quantitative review of the brain imaging literature testing overall sex differences in total and regional brain volumes.
They searched all articles published between 1990 and 2013. A total of 126 articles were included in the study, covering brains from individuals as young as birth to 80 years old.
They found that males on average have larger total brain volumes than women (by 8-13%). Looking more closely, differences in volume between the sexes were located in several regions. Specifically, males on average had larger volumes and higher tissue densities in the left amygdala and insular cortex among other regions.
By contrast, to name a few, females on average had higher density in the left frontal pole, and larger volumes in inferior and middle frontal gyri.