Sex is a robust determinant of human brain organisation

A study conducted by Stanford Medicine has revealed the presence of distinct brain organisation patterns in women and men, shedding light on the significant role of sex in shaping the human brain. The study introduces a powerful new artificial intelligence model boasting an impressive accuracy of over 90% in distinguishing between male and female brains based on scans of brain activity. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provide crucial insights into the existence of reliable sex differences in the human brain and emphasize the potential implications for addressing neuropsychiatric conditions that affect women and men differently.

The lead author of the study, senior research scientist Srikanth Ryali, emphasised the significance of the study, saying, “A key motivation for this study is that sex plays a crucial role in human brain development, in aging, and in the manifestation of psychiatric and neurological disorders.” The study’s senior author, Vinod Menon, further highlighted the importance of identifying consistent and replicable sex differences in the healthy adult brain, asserting, “Identifying consistent and replicable sex differences in the healthy adult brain is a critical step toward a deeper understanding of sex-specific vulnerabilities in psychiatric and neurological disorders.”

The study’s findings underscore the pivotal role of sex in shaping human brain organisation and carry significant implications for understanding and addressing neuropsychiatric conditions that manifest differently in women and men.