Brain activity of women is more fractal than men

Neurosci Lett. 2013 Feb 22:535:7-11. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2012.12.043. Epub 2013 Jan 8.


Investigating gender differences of the brain is of both scientific and clinical importance, as understanding such differences may be helpful for improving gender specific treatments of neuropsychiatric disorders. As brain is a highly complex system, it is crucial to investigate its activity in terms of nonlinear dynamics. However, there are few studies that investigated gender differences based on dynamical characteristics of the brain. Fractal dimension (FD) is a key characteristic of the brain dynamics which indicates the level of complexity on which the neuronal regions function or interact and quantifies the associated brain processes on a scale ranging from fully deterministic to fully random. This study investigates the gender differences of brain dynamics, comparing fractal dimension of scalp EEGs (in eyes-closed resting state) of 34 female and 34 male healthy adults. The results showed significantly greater FDs in females compared to males in all brain regions except in lateral and occipital lobes. This indicates a higher complexity of the brain dynamics in females relative to males. The high accuracies of 87.8% and 93.1% obtained by logistic regression and enhanced probabilistic neural network, respectively, in discriminating between the gender groups based on the FDs also confirmed the great gender differences of complexity of brain activities. The results showed that delta, alpha, and beta bands are the frequency bands that contribute most to the gender differences in brain complexity. Furthermore, the lateralization analysis showed the leftward lateralization of complexity in females is greater than in males.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Fractals*
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Neural Networks, Computer
  • Sex Factors
  • Young Adult