Posted by Annapaola Prestia Laboratory of Epidemiology Neuroimaging and Telemedicine, IRCCS Centro San Giovanni di Dio FBF, The National Centre for Research and Care of Alzheimer’s and Mental Diseases, Brescia, Italy
In human neuroimaging studies, the hippocampus has been shown to mediate allocentric spatial memory processing, which uses spatial information, such as the relationships among multiple environmental landmarks, to navigate efficiently. This study examined sex differences in healthy adults, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in areas implicated in spatial processing during navigation of a virtual labyrinth, analogue of the Morris water-maze. Healthy middle-age adults (8 women, 8 men) were enrolled in the study. The hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, and cingulate cortex were activated in both men and women; additional brain areas involved in spatial processing seemed to be recruited in women when learning information about the environment, by utilizing external cues (landmarks) more than in men, contributing to the observed sex differences in brain activation.