Girls' brains are more 'resilient' than boys' to disorders such as autism and ADHD
Extra X chromosone could explain why neurodevelopmental disorders are more frequent in males than females
Tuesday 04 March 2014
New research suggests that girls’ brains are more “resilient” than boys to neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism.
The cohort study found evidence supporting the “female protective model”, a theory that suggests that females require more extreme genetic mutations than males before they develop certain sorts of disorders.
This would account for the gender difference for conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), both of which are diagnosed more frequently in males than females.
An alternative theory accounting for this difference suggests that social bias is responsible, although this research – which looked at genetic data from more than 15,000 individuals – found that that females diagnosed with ASD had a greater number of harmful genetic mutations than males.
"The data suggests - and it would require additional experiments to really prove this - but it looks like there is a resilience in brain development that is much higher in females than in males," lead author Sebastien Jacquemont of the University Hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland, told the BBC.
"You can 'break' neurodevelopment in males much easier than you can in females."
Jacquemont said he hoped that that the research might lead to the development of "more sensitive, gender-specific approaches for the diagnostic screening of neurodevelopmental disorders."
One possible explanation of the imbalance is that females’ extra X chromosome helps them compensate for any extreme genetic damage.
Evan Eichler, a co-author of the study from the University of Washington, said that the results of the study could be interpreted in two ways: either girls are more protected from bad mutations or boys are more susceptible.
"It takes more insult in the genome of a girl to push them over a threshold to develop autism or to develop developmental delay compared to a boy,” said Eichler.
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C#.NET VB6 Developer (Software Developer, Softwa...
£20000 - £27000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst - (Active Di...
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...