Traumatic Stress Changes Brains Of Boys, Girls Differently: Study

Posted: Nov 12 2016, 2:54am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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Traumatic Stress Changes Brains of Boys, Girls Differently: Study
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  • Past Trauma and Stress Levels have Different Effects on Brains of Opposite Sexes among Youth

Apparently, past trauma and stress levels have different effects on brains of opposite sexes among youth.

Trauma and stress has effects on the brains of youth that differs according to gender. This is according to a new study which took place recently. The youth were prone to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

Differences in structural features of the brains were found. The insula which lies in the brain and processes emotional charge and sympathetic reactions was especially important in all this. It detected signals from the body.

The findings were published in an online journal Depression and Anxiety on November 11.

The insula is crucial and vital in the development of PTSD. This study will help scientists gather knowledge regarding differences in trauma symptoms between the sexes. Some of the youth develop PTSD while others do not.

People with PTSD experience flashbacks of the traumatic episodes and often forgo places, people and things having anything to do with the past trauma.

They also suffer from insomnia, are isolated and lack focus. Previous research shows that girls who experienced trauma developed PTSD whereas boys did not. Researchers could not find out why this was so.

59 study participants had MRI scans done. They ranged in age from 9 to 17. 30 of them, 14 girls and 16 boys, showed symptoms of trauma. 29 others, which comprised the control group, did not.

They contained 15 girls and 14 boys. Both those who were facing the consequences of trauma and those who were not had similar ages and intelligence quotients.

No differences in brain structures were seen between the boys and the girls in the control group. However, among those who were traumatized, there were differences in the portions of the insula that comprised the anterior circular sulcus.

Among boys, this brain region had greater size and surface area. Girls who were traumatized showed smaller size of this brain region whereas girls in the control group did not. Such research could be extremely helpful to scientists in the future.

Especially when working in tandem with traumatized youth, gender mattered. Boys and girls may benefit from specialized treatment that was specifically geared towards their rehabilitation.

High levels of stress leads to early pubertal changes among girls. Sex-specific trauma also led to emotional dysfunctions among both genders. More work is needed to better gauge the effects of stress on youth.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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