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In One Unique Way, Women's Brains Have Edge Over Men's

Study suggests they're a few years 'younger' than male brains, in terms of metabolism
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2019 10:00 AM CST
Updated Feb 9, 2019 7:00 AM CST
Stock photo.   (Getty/Hank Grebe)

(Newser) – Women's brains seem to age better than men's, at least by one key measure. That's one of the main takeaways of a new study out of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. The researchers found that if you compared a male and female brain of the same chronological age, the female brain will appear to be about three years younger, they say in a press release. The difference is consistent from early adulthood into the senior years, reports the Guardian. In the study of more than 200 adults who underwent brain scans, the researchers looked at brain metabolism—how efficiently the brains were able to turn sugar into fuel that powers the brain. Women consistently fared better.

An algorithm consistently guessed that female brains were a little younger than they actually were, notes Live Science. By contrast, the same algorithm typically guessed that men's brains were a little older than they actually were. "What this tells us is that sex has an effect on how the brain ages, metabolically speaking," say lead author Manu Goyal, per CNN. The researchers don't know why this is the case, but if future studies can unravel the answer, that could help in the understanding of degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer's. (Female brains may have an edge when it comes to traits such as self-control and focus.)

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