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Deciphering the Bases of Sex Differences in the Brain and their Role in Psychiatric Disorders

Sex differences in the brain as seen by MRI (PDF)

Childhood mental health disorders tend to affect boys and girls differently. Autism, for example, is much more likely to be found in boys than in girls, whereas girls are more likely to suffer depression in their teenage years. Understanding why these diseases differ according to the sex of the child is thus an important part of understanding the diseases themselves. In this project we want to study how sex differences develop in the brain. To do this we will employ advanced brain imaging methods in mice along with using mouse models to understand which of these sex based brain differences are due to sex chromosomes (since boys have an X and Y chromosome and girls have two X chromosomes) versus differences in sex steroids (testosterone and estrogen). Lastly, we will use mouse models to examine which of these sex differences in the brain account for sex differences in anxiety disorders.

Research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The Hospital for Sick Children
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