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Neuropsychologia. 2000;38(4):451-61.

Sex differences in brain-behavior relationships between verbal episodic memory and resting regional cerebral blood flow.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania Health Systems, 10th Floor, Gates Building, 3400 Spruce Street, Philadelphia 19104-4283, USA.


Women have better verbal memory, and higher rates of resting regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF). This study examined whether there are also sex differences in the relationship between verbal episodic memory and resting rCBF. Twenty eight healthy right-handed volunteers (14 male, 14 female) underwent a neuropsychological evaluation and a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) (15)O-water study. Immediate and delayed recall was measured on the logical memory subtest of the Wechsler Memory Scale - Revised (WMS-R), and on the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT). Resting rCBF (ml/100 g/min) was calculated for four frontal, four temporal, and four limbic regions of interest (ROIs). Women had better immediate recall on both WMS-R and CVLT tasks. Sex differences in rCBF were found for temporal lobe regions. Women had greater bilateral blood flow in a mid-temporal brain region. There were also sex differences in rCBF correlations with performance. Women produced positive correlations with rCBF laterality in the temporal pole. Greater relative CBF in the left temporal pole was associated with better WMS-R immediate and delayed recall in women only. These results suggest that trait differences in temporal pole brain-behavior relationships may relate to sex differences in verbal episodic memory.

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