Men’s brains age and decline faster than women’s, says a new study. A team of scientists found that among men, the grey matter in their brains decline at a faster rate than women as they age.
Researchers at the University of Szeged scanned the brains of 103 adults (53 men, 50 age-matched healthy women) with an average age of 32. The youngest participant was 21 years old and the oldest was 58 years old.
Published in the journal Brain Imaging and Behaviour, neuroscientists wanted to determine how the interaction among brain size, age and sex that contribute to volume alterations of subcortical grey matter in the brain affect human aging.
The neuroscientists found that there are many differences in terms of brain structures between men and women specifically in subcortical areas. Generally, men lose more grey matter faster than women in the caudate nucleus and the putamen area, parts of the brain responsible for managing emotions and movements.
The total grey matter in both sexes was determined through voxel-based morphometry. They utilized model-based subcortical segmentation analysis to gauge the amount of subcortical nuclei in the brain.
Based on their analysis, women have naturally bigger hippocampus volume than men. Aside from that, the grey matter volume have significant age-related decline among men compared to women.
Furthermore, aging affects the thalamus, the part responsible for passing information in the brain, more in males than in females.
“Strikingly, GM volume decreases faster in males than in females emphasizing the interplay between aging and gender on subcortical structures,” the researchers wrote in the study.
The study highlights why men are more susceptible to neurological problems like Parkinson’s disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The study will contribute knowledge in the prognosis and pathophysiology of these neurological disorders.
According to the researchers, the study aids in further understanding mental disorders associated with old age. With new knowledge to guide experts, treatment options may be shaped to properly address neurological problems in older adults.