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  • Children of Eden written by Joey Graceffa
    By: Destiny Breniser This book was published in 2016 with its genre being Young Adult,  Dystopian, and Apocalyptic. This story is about Rowan, who is a second-born child living in a city where her entire existence is illegal. She longs for the day when she can leave her family’s house and live without fear.  She […]
  • An Unwanted Guest written by Shari Lapena
    By: Destiny Breniser A classic whodunnit that keeps you guessing till the very end. With twelve characters to read varying points of view from, there is always something happening to leave you wondering what is going on.  This book was published in 2018 with its genre being a mystery thriller. The story starts with Reily […]

Battle of the sexes is all in the brain

By Ronald Kotulak The Chicago Tribune (KRT)

Scientists are still a long way from figuring out what women and men really want, but they are getting a lot closer to understanding what makes their brains so different.

That women and men think differently has little to do with whether they are handed dolls or trucks to play with as infants. After all, when infant monkeys are given a choice of human toys, females prefer dolls and males go after cars and trucks.

The differences, researchers are beginning to discover, appear to have a lot more to do with how powerful hormones wire the female and male brain during early development and later in life.

Among the newest findings: A previously unknown hormone appears to launch puberty’s sexual and mental transformation; growth hormone is made in the brain’s memory center at rates up to twice as high in females as in males; and the brain’s hot button for emotions, the amygdala, is wired to different parts of the brain in women and men.

Scientists hope the findings may help explain such mysteries as why females are often more verbal, more socially empathetic, more nurturing and more susceptible to depression, while males tend to be more aggressive, more outdoorsy, more focused on things than people and more vulnerable to alcohol and drug addiction.

“Males and females look different, we act different, so of course our brains are different,” said Rutgers University psychologist Tracey Shors, who is studying the effects of growth hormone on the brain. “Sex hormones along with stress and growth hormones change the brain’s anatomy, and in that way you change behavior, your ability to think and learn.”

Sex differences begin with the X and Y sex chromosomes a person is born with. But scientists now believe that whether the brain and nervous system are wired as female or male depends a lot on the early influence of estrogen, the so-called female hormone, or testosterone, the male hormone.

The brain’s sexual identity is first established when those hormones are briefly released before and shortly after birth, which may influence a child’s preference for dolls or trucks.

“There’s a peak of testosterone in males at birth that’s very important for future sexual behavior,” said Dr. Sophie Messager of Paradigm Therapeutics in Cambridge, England. “If you block that, the male rats behave like females for the rest of their life.”

The sex hormones then lie dormant until they get turned on again in puberty to make the body ready for reproduction.

That is where a recently discovered hormone called kisspeptin comes in. Created in the brain, it unleashes a cascade of hormones that race down to the gonads – ovaries in females and testes in males.

There they stimulate the production of estrogen or testosterone, starting the physical transformations of puberty. Messager proved in animals that blocking kisspeptin prevented those changes from happening.

But there is another target for this activity: the brain. The hormonal downrush kicked off by kisspeptin comes full circle when estrogen and testosterone travel back to the brain, imprinting neural circuits with female and male characteristics, Messager said.

Animal studies show that genetic females will behave like males if their estrogen is blocked and replaced by testosterone. Genetic males, in turn, act like females if their testosterone is knocked out.

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