Tag Archives: Brain Science

Gender & the Brain: Differences between Women & Men

male_vs_female

A study completed recently in December 2013 on nearly 1,000 brain scans has surprisingly confirmed what many of us thought…that there are major differences between the male & female brain.  Women’s and men’s brains are indeed wired in fundamentally different ways.

The research showed that on average, female brains are highly connected across the left and right hemispheres, and connections in male brains are typically stronger between the front and back regions. Men’s brains tend to perform tasks predominantly on the left-side, which is the logical/rational side of the brain. Women, on the other hand, use both sides of their brains because a woman’s brain has a larger Corpus Callosum, which means women can transfer data between the right and left hemispheres faster than men.

ZitsListening

Here is a list of the basic differences between women & men based on research studies of the brain done up to now.  This might be a handy list to show to your other half to avoid future misunderstandings!

  • Brain Size & Brain Connections: Women’s brains are 8% smaller than men’s, but have more interconnections.  Women perform better at “bigger picture” & situational thinking while men do better on more specific spatial thinking (problem solving, and pattern prediction involving objects and their spatial relationships).
  • Multi-tasking: Men tend to be better at learning and performing a single task, like cycling or navigating, and women are better at juggling different tasks at once.
  • Social Context: Women are better at social thinking & interactions than men, while men are more abstract and task-orientated.  This is why women are normally better at communication while men more often prefer relying on themselves to get things done.
  • Emotions: Women typically have a larger limbic system than men, which makes them more in touch and expressive with their emotions.  Women are usually more empathic and comprehensive in thinking, while men focus on exact issues and disregard impertinent information.  Men have a difficult time understanding emotions not explicitly verbalized but can think more logically, while women have a more wholesome view of thinking & understanding but their emotions can sometimes cloud judgements.
  • Math Skills: A brain area called the “Inferior-Parietal Lobule (IPL)” is normally larger in men than women.  This area is thought to control mathematical processes, which explains why men typically can perform mathematical tasks better than women.
  • Pain: Women tend to perceive pain more intensely than men.  The Amygdala is the brain area activated when pain is felt. The right Amygdala is activated for men and the left Amygdala is activated for women. The right Amygdala has more connections with external functions while the left Amygdala has more connections with internal functions.
  • Coordination & Movement: Men are generally better with coordination, controlling their movements, and have faster reaction times.
  • Language: Women are more attuned to words and sounds and are normally better at learning languages.  This is also why men tend to have a harder time expressing emotions verbally.
  • Memory: Women generally have better memory than men.  They have greater activity in the brain’s hippocampus, which is part of the brain that helps store memories. Studies have shown women are generally better at recalling words, names, faces, pictures, objects, and everyday events.
  • Sense of Direction: Men has shown to have better visual-spatial & geographic memory and thinking, meaning they tend to have a better sense of direction and remembering where locations and areas are.
  • Risks & Rewards: Men has a brain wired for risk-taking more than women.  Male brains get a bigger burst of endorphins, sensation of pleasure, when faced with a risky or challenging situation.  And the bigger the reward is, the more likely a man will take a risk.
  • Senses & Sex: Men focus more on their visual sense, among other senses of perception; while women tend to use multiple senses. In terms of sexual activity, men are prevalently turned on by what they see, whereas women are turned on by multiple sources: ambience, touch, scent, as well as visual perception.

What did you think about the list?  Tell us in the comments!  Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips and lists.  Also, both our female and male readers can benefit from a stronger & healthier brain by using our portfolio of apps, so check them out!

 

 

NEW Fit Brains app — Test your health & lifestyle choices!

mzl.pevlnnov.175x175-75A new Fit Brains app has been released on the iTunes app store!

Introducing Fit Brains: Brain Health Lifestyle Assessment — a FREE iOS app to test your health & lifestyle choices, complete with detailed feedback & improvement suggestions!

fit brains lifestyle assessment

Based on your answers from the assessment, the app is designed to provide personalized educational & informational suggestions to help you make step by step changes for a healthier brain & overall life.  

Fit Brains Lifestyle Assessment

After completing the test, you will receive a Brain Health Lifestyle Score with detailed summaries & suggestions on 5 health and lifestyle areas:

  1. Physical Activity
  2. Mental Stimulation
  3. Socialization
  4. Spirituality
  5. Nutrition

Fit Brains Lifestyle AssessmentFit Brains Lifestyle Assessment 

You are encouraged to re-take the test periodically to see statistics on your improvements.

Same as all Fit Brains apps, the data in the Fit Brains: Lifestyle Assessment app is retrieved from the extensive scientific research done by leading neuroscientists & neuropsychologists in the United States, including Dr. Paul Nussbaum, one of the top clinical neuropsychologists in the U.S. with more than 50 peer reviewed publications.

So what are you waiting for?  Click HERE to download the app NOW to improve your life & make it the best it can be!  After your 1st assessment, share your health & lifestyle goals with us in the comments below, on our Facebook, or Twitter!

Cell Phone Caution

Let me begin this blog with “I do not know” whether cell phone used causes brain cancer in the form of tumors or not. However, not knowing something means you do not know and hence caution is most likely in order, particularly when cancer is the point of discussion.

Let me try to ease the confusion and suggest some lifestyle steps to avoid unnecessary risk if it is present. A primary malignant brain tumor is one in which the cancer originates in the brain itself rather than traveling to the brain from another region of the body (metastases). There are over 20,000 new cases of primary brain malignancies each year. A specific form of brain tumor known as the glioblastoma multiforme has increased 30 to 70 percent from one decade to the next in some metropolitan areas of the United States. It is believed that ten times the number of metastatic brain tumors will also occur in the same time period.

Risks for cancer include pesticides, air pollution, chemicals found in meats, power lines, and plastics. Xrays are also on the list of risk factors including the microwave type radiation emitted from cell phones. This is why cell phone companies suggest we hold the phones away from out ear when using it.  Further, there have been several studies indicating a relationship (not cause and effect) between cell phone use and risk of brain cancer, increased risk of acoustic neuroma, and glioblastomas. It is important to note that other studies that have not found any relationship between cell phone use and increased risk for brain cancer. We will most likely learn more about this relationship as we have more time to study the use and effects of cell phone use on a larger number of people over a greater period of time.

As cell phone use is a lifestyle issue, what can be done at this point? There certainly has been an increase in the number of users and the amount of time each user spends on their cell phone. Some homes do not even have land lines anymore. Children are using cell phones at unprecedented rates as well. Dr. Black, renowned neurosurgeon suggests that parents try to curtail cell phone usage in their children. Even adults are encouraged to use an earpiece (not a blue tooth) to avoid direct contact between the phone and the ear.

I have started to use an earpiece myself.

Sleep and the Brain

Sleep is actually a very important function of and for the brain. We need to generate enough sleep to feel rested, to have energy, to assist with mood, and to even help us think more clearly.

Sleep is divided into four stages. Deep sleep or stage IV sleep is critical to brain function. With advanced age we generate less deep IV sleep and it is probably not a coincidence that our cognitive abilities change as well.

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is the part of sleep when we dream and we are actually paralyzed. REM occupies about 25% of our sleep and is critical for encoding information to a deeper level. Our brain processes millions of bits of information daily and during REM it is thought the brain selects those bits of information that are most critical.

Debate on how much sleep is necessary continues, but it is probably safe to say that young children need at least 8 hours of sleep a day while adults should get more than 6. Certainly, these numbers are not fixed and there are cases where some do fine with only a few hours while others do not. The bottom line is that our brains need sleep, deep sleep, and REM to function efficiently.

Surfing and Autism

Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that includes a wide array of symptoms. We do not know the cause of autism and we have no cure. Much has been learned and autism is certainly no longer viewed as a single disorder or entity. The emotional strain on a family can be substantial, particularly when resistance to an emotional or loving attachment occurs.

I have been reading more about the positive effects of surfing on some children with autism. As I am not an expert in this area I want to be careful and inform the public that autism is not my area of specialization. However, I have now read several accounts of how a child suffering from autism has a type of “awakening” after some time in the water learning how to surf.

Obviously, the surfing I am describing involves one to one work with a trained surfer who has a gift of working with children suffering autism. It is also true that by these accounts that the first part of the experience can be difficult as the child experiences a natural fear of the ocean and strangers. It might be most difficult for the parents who are watching with great doubt.

The reports indicate that after a short period of time the child with autism not only relaxes, but begins to awaken to life and the surroundings in a way not seen prior to the surfing experience. It is not known why or how this occurs, but perhaps the child’s brain is literally overwhelmed with stimulation which helps to soothe and foster interaction with others in the immediate environment. One parent even described his child as being able to speak and connect in ways he thought was impossible.

Perhaps Mother Nature provides us with some treatments in her own way. The majesty of an ocean whose water fills 80% of our planet might have some answers for the brain. Maybe it is the movement, the energy, the sound, the rhythm. Even if we do not fully understand why, the fact that we have anecdotal evidence for surfing bringing some children with Autism to a new awakening is reason enough to ask more questions.