"These variations occur throughout the brain, in regions involved in language, memory, emotion, vision, hearing and navigation," Nature quoted Cahill, as saying. According to Cahill, "their discoveries could point the way to sex-specific therapies for men and women with neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, depression, addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder."
"There are growing indications that the disease pathology, and the relationship between pathology and behavioural disturbance, differs significantly between the sexes," Cahill said.
Pathology refers to the way a disease develops within the body.
"Let us first consider Alzheimer's disease-related pathology. Alzheimer's disease-related neurofibrillary pathology associated with abnormally phosphorylated tau protein differs in the hypothalamus of men and women: up to 90 percent of older men show this pathology, whereas it is found in only 8-10 percent of age-matched women," Cahill said.
In other words, abnormalities caused by Alzheimer's disease may differ between the sexes and result in different symptoms or behavioural problems for women and men with the disease.
"Scientific evidence of sex differences in the brain is regularly emerging now," said Sherry Marts, Ph.D., vice president of scientific affairs for the Society for Women's Health Research.
"This book outlines current knowledge, conceptual approaches, methodological capabilities, and challenges to continued progress. It is an important tool in the quest to turn the science of sex differences into appropriate care for all patients both male and female," Marts added.
The study is published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience.