Linked Sex Differences in Cognition and Functional Connectivity in Youth.

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TitleLinked Sex Differences in Cognition and Functional Connectivity in Youth.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsSatterthwaite, TD, Wolf, DH, Roalf, DR, Ruparel, K, Erus, G, Vandekar, S, Gennatas, ED, Elliott, MA, Smith, A, Hakonarson, H, Verma, R, Davatzikos, C, Gur, RE, Gur, RC
JournalCereb Cortex
Date Published2015 Sep
KeywordsAdolescent, Brain, Brain Mapping, Child, Cognition, Female, Humans, Image Processing, Computer-Assisted, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Models, Neurological, Motion, Neural Pathways, Neuropsychological Tests, Oxygen, Sex Characteristics, Young Adult

Sex differences in human cognition are marked, but little is known regarding their neural origins. Here, in a sample of 674 human participants ages 9-22, we demonstrate that sex differences in cognitive profiles are related to multivariate patterns of resting-state functional connectivity MRI (rsfc-MRI). Males outperformed females on motor and spatial cognitive tasks; females were faster in tasks of emotion identification and nonverbal reasoning. Sex differences were also prominent in the rsfc-MRI data at multiple scales of analysis, with males displaying more between-module connectivity, while females demonstrated more within-module connectivity. Multivariate pattern analysis using support vector machines classified subject sex on the basis of their cognitive profile with 63% accuracy (P < 0.001), but was more accurate using functional connectivity data (71% accuracy; P < 0.001). Moreover, the degree to which a given participant's cognitive profile was "male" or "female" was significantly related to the masculinity or femininity of their pattern of brain connectivity (P = 2.3 × 10(-7)). This relationship was present even when considering males and female separately. Taken together, these results demonstrate for the first time that sex differences in patterns of cognition are in part represented on a neural level through divergent patterns of brain connectivity.

Alternate JournalCereb. Cortex
PubMed ID24646613
PubMed Central IDPMC4537416
Grant ListT32 MH019112 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
MH089924 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
K23 MH098130 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
R01 MH101111 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
MH089983 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
K23 MH085096 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
U54 HD086984 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
RC2 MH089983 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
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