A new study conducted by a team of researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine reveals that young boys and girls behave differently when subjected to PTSD.
Performing detailed MRI scans on a group of young males and females, the team or medical researchers has found several structure differences in a part of the brain called the insula. In addition, it would seem that these differences in brain formation are the reason why boys and girls behave differently when trying to cope with PTSD.
The insula or the insular cortex is a component of the cerebral cortex, located in the lateral sulcus. Scientists have reasons to believe that the insula plays a fundament role in consciousness, being also related to emotions and homeostasis.
Furthermore, previous studies have revealed that the insular cortex plays a pivotal role in motor control, interpersonal experience, perception, and self-awareness.
This study reveals that the insular cortex’s structural differences are what triggers a different response to traumatic stress in boys and girls. Previous studies stated that adolescent girls who experience traumatic stress are more likely to develop PTSD than their male counterparts.
The new study seems to confirm the previous findings. In order to determine how male and female brains react to traumatic stress, the team of researchers performed detailed MRI scans on a group of 59 children.
As Victor Carrion, the study’s senior researcher pointed out, that 14 girls and 16 boys from the groups suffered from PTSD, while the other did not, but were included in the study to serve as a control group.
The children selected to participate in the study had ages between 9 and 17 years old, and, according to the researchers, 5 of them experience a single traumatic episode, while 25 of them witnessed two or more episodes.
After performing the brain scans, the team of researchers has discovered that there were no structural differences in the insular cortex of the control group. However, the MRIs performed on the PTSD groups revealed sizeable differences in both sexes.
As Carrion explains, the MRI scans revealed that area affected by the traumatic event was slightly elevated in male patients than in female patients.
No doubt that this study’s results will be crucial in developing sex-based PTSD treatments.
Image source: Pixabay
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