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Neuroimage. 2005 Jun;26(2):493-501. Epub 2005 Apr 12.

Mapping cortical gray matter in the young adult brain: effects of gender.

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Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, Department of Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1769, USA.


Using magnetic resonance imaging and well-validated computational cortical pattern matching methods in a large and well-matched sample of healthy subjects, we analyzed the effects of gender on regional gray matter (GM) concentration across the cortex. To clarify discrepancies in previous reports, we also examined sexual dimorphisms for whole-brain tissue volumes with and without controlling for brain size differences. In addition, we generated spatially detailed maps of average GM distributions and variability across the entire cortex given that these descriptors are not well characterized in the normative literature. After brain size correction, we detected numerous cortical regions showing significantly increased GM concentration in females compared to males, but no regionally increased GM concentration in males. Permutation testing confirmed the statistical significance of these findings. Locally increased concentration of cortical GM in females corroborates findings of larger global GM volumes in females after correcting for individual brain sizes. Larger global volumes of GM, white matter and CSF, however, are observed in males when individual brain volumes are not taken into account. Our results show that gender is a major contributor to regional and global GM differences between individuals, although the nature of these effects depend on whether brain size is taken into account.

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