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Sex, Gender, and the Biology of the Brain

April 13, 2020

Women and men are not the same, and this is not the same thing as saying one gender is better or worse.

In Time magazine’s new special issue on “The Science of Gender,” Women’s Health Research at Yale Director Carolyn M. Mazure explores the importance of this distinction in the lead story on “Biology and the Brain.”

“We load the concept of difference with a value judgment, but we have to let go of the concept that different means better or worse,” Mazure said.

The story explores the structural and chemical differences recently discovered in brains of women and men and the behavioral consequences of those differences in combination with environmental factors such as parenting, culture, and socioeconomic status.

“We’re finding that we have to integrate these things — to understand how environment affects biology and how biology sets an individual up for interfacing with environment,” Mazure said.

The story also includes insight from Dr. Kelly Cosgrove, a WHRY-affiliated researcher and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and of Neuroscience, who studies sex differences in brains of those who use addictive substances.

“I know that there’s a small and vocal minority who thinks it’s a bad idea to identify sex-based differences,” Cosgrove said. “But if we can find things in the brain that help women better recover from things like addiction or depression, I don’t see the downside.”

Published earlier this year, the 157-page special issue is now available for purchase as an e-book online or in a free preview of the first 25 pages, including the story featuring Dr. Mazure.

Submitted by Rick Harrison on April 13, 2020