Monday, February 17, 2014

Men really DO have bigger brains: Male and female brains are wired differently

Many have long suspected that the male and female brains are very different.  Now, researchers at Cambridge University have revealed just what those differences are.

By studying over 20 years of neuroscience research, they were able to create a map showing just how the sexes differ.

 Males on average had larger volumes and higher tissue densities in the left amygdala, hippocampus, insular cortex, putamen; higher densities in the right VI lobe of the cerebellum and in the left claustrum; and larger volumes in the bilateral anterior parahippocampal gyri, posterior cingulate gyri, precuneus, temporal poles, and cerebellum, areas in the left posterior and anterior cingulate gyri, and in the right amygdala, hippocampus, and putamen.

By contrast, females on average had higher density in the left frontal pole, and larger volumes in the right frontal pole, inferior and middle frontal gyri, pars triangularis, planum temporale/parietal operculum, anterior cingulate gyrus, insular cortex, and Heschl's gyrus; bilateral thalami and precuneus; the left parahippocampal gyrus, and lateral occipital cortex.

'For the first time we can look across the vast literature and confirm that brain size and structure are different in males and females,' said Amber Ruigrok, who led the study.  'We should no longer ignore sex in neuroscience research, especially when investigating psychiatric conditions that are more prevalent in either males or females.'

The research, published this week in the prestigious journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, took in 218 different studies.

It found that males on average have larger total brain volumes than women, by 8-13%.  On average, males also had larger absolute volumes than females in the intracranial space (12%; >14,000 brains), total brain (11%; 2,523 brains), cerebrum (10%; 1,851 brains), grey matter (9%; 7,934 brains), white matter (13%; 7,515 brains), regions filled with cerebrospinal fluid (11.5%; 4,484 brains), and cerebellum (9%; 1,842 brains).

Looking more closely, researchers found the differences in volume between the sexes were located in several regions.  These included parts of the limbic system, which deals with emotion, and the language system.

The team, led by doctoral candidate Amber Ruigrok and Professors John Suckling and Simon Baron-Cohen in the Department of Psychiatry, performed a quantitative review of the brain imaging literature testing overall sex differences in total and regional brain volumes.

The research could have major implications for research into autism and depression. 'The sex differences in the limbic system include areas often implicated in psychiatric conditions with biased sex ratios such as autism, schizophrenia, and depression,' Professor Suckling said.  'This new study may therefore help us understand not just typical sex differences but also sex-linked psychiatric conditions.'

Professor Baron-Cohen said: 'Although these very clear sex differences in brain structure may reflect an environmental or social factor, from other studies we know that biological influences are also important, including prenatal sex steroid hormones (such as foetal testosterone) as well as sex chromosome effects.  'Such influences need to be teased out, one by one.'

Dr Meng-Chuan Lai, another member of the team, called for further research.  'We need more research exploring brain development over the entire lifespan, especially in the early, formative years,' she said.

The team 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.


Anti-miscegenation lives!

There used to be laws against miscegenation -- interracial sex.  It seems that the attitudes concerned are not dead  -- among blacks.  No more cream in the coffee, it seems

If a white politician said that he doesn't like a white man because he's married to a black woman, it would be time for another national conversation on race accompanied by Buzzfeed outrage, Slate and Atlantic think-pieces on why America is so racist and perhaps even a very special speech by Obama.

But this is nothing to worry about.

While on the the floor of the Alabama House of Representatives, state Rep. Alvin Holmes, a black Democrat, explained why he so dislikes Clarence Thomas: because "he's married to a white woman," reporter Mary Sell of The Times Daily and Decatur Daily tweeted Wednesday.

When reached for comment by a reporter for the Anniston Star, Mr. Holmes said he was misinterpreted, but added that Justice Thomas was an "Uncle Tom," the National Review reported.

"I said some people might say I didn't like him because he was married to a white woman," Mr. Holmes told the Anniston Star, before including the "Uncle Tom" addendum.

..sure "some people". If only Mr. Holmes were white, then Obama might say he acted stupidly.


The Culture Wars and Football

University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam publicly announced last weekend that he is homosexual, though he told his team last August. Sam projects to be drafted in the NFL this April, but as we noted earlier this week, he's now less a football player than a poster child for the Left's homosexual agenda. It's a shame that either he was baited into being used as a pawn for this agenda or he's such a narcissist that he couldn't resist the lure of instant celebrity.

We thought we could then leave well enough alone until Dale Hansen, a sanctimonious Dallas sportscaster, weighed in. Hansen really hit the NFL after officials reportedly said Sam's announcement will hurt him on draft day. If that's so, we think it's not so much due to potential clubhouse problems – though there may be some – but rather because teams want to avoid the inevitable media circus.

Hansen took on NFL culture, saying, “You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police trying to cover up a murder? We're comfortable with that. You love another man? Well, now you've gone too far!” Indeed, the NFL has a major culture problem, though it's in part only a reflection of the larger culture. Give fatherless inner-city kids multi-million-dollar contracts and trouble is bound to happen.

But Hansen didn't stop there; he went on to slam conservatives. He said, “So many of the same people who used to make that argument to keep blacks from playing football are the same people who say government should stay out of our lives. But then want government in our bedrooms.”

We don't recall hearing conservatives call for a government ban on homosexual athletes. In fact, most conservatives take issue – politically at least – only with the homosexual agenda of redefining marriage and forcing acceptance upon the rest of us. We do not seek to personally persecute homosexuals. Quite the contrary.

There are also a couple of things Hansen neglected to mention. For starters, leftists may say they want government out of their bedrooms, but they have no problem insisting that taxpayers pay for what happens there. And as for racism, it was Democrats who were and remain the party of slavery. In the past it was real chains and then Jim Crow. Today it's the ObamaNation Poverty Plantation, the effect of which is much the same. So before Dale Hansen begins the pride parade for Michael Sam, a little perspective is still needed.


Will this old lady be robbed of her house and money?

Evil British social workers again

Wanda Maddocks is the woman who, as we learnt last year, was secretly jailed by the mysterious and sinister Court of Protection for removing her father from a care home where he had been put by social workers against his will. He had been neglected and ill-treated and, soon after his forced return, died. This shocking episode helped to trigger Lord Justice Munby’s recent guidelines calling for more transparency in the workings of the Court of Protection, which are even more secretive than those involving the forced removal of children.

I have lately been following the bizarre story of a frail but otherwise capable 94-year-old woman who has become the object of attention by social services. Their aim, it seems, is to take control of her £350,000 home and her substantial savings, to transfer her against her will to a care home and then to evict from the house a niece and her husband who look after her. Having obtained a questionable psychiatrist’s report to show that the old lady is not “mentally competent”, the social workers used an order from the Court of Protection to deny her access to her bank accounts. She only learnt this when a teller refused to give her money and would not tell her why.

Having found her capable of carrying on a sensible conversation, and having heard from her niece how the fear of God is being put into the family by highly intrusive visits from a social worker, accompanied by four police, my friend Ian Josephs arranged for the woman to be assessed by an eminent psychologist, Dr Ludwig Lowenstein, president of the International Council of Psychologists. Not only did she pass all his tests, he was so critical of the report produced by the council psychiatrist that he volunteered to come to court this week to testify as an expert witness.

After learning this on Friday, the council apparently withdrew its attempt to persuade the court that the old lady lacks “capacity”. In light of this twist, it will be interesting to see whether the social workers persist in their campaign to evict her and her family from their home, and to assume full control over her finances. In due course, I hope to report on the outcome.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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