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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. April 2012

Prior to the 1990s, few studies examined gender differences in symptoms, disease progression, or treatment of psychiatric disorders. In the last twenty years, research efforts have begun to include the examination of gender differences in studies on brain function using animal models and human subjects. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and the ReHo method, the current study looked at the brain gender differences of healthy volunteers after normal sleep and sleep deprivation. They enrolled sixteen healthy subjects (eight males, eight females), ranged in age from 21 to 25 years. Each of the sixteen subjects underwent resting state fMRI scans twice, one was carried out following normal sleep and the other following 24 h sleep deprivation. It’s generally acknowledged that brain activity appears in the form of a mass or region made up of many cluster volumes. On the basis of this hypothesis, researcher analyzed the characteristics of the regional brain activity and evaluated the similarity between the adjacent cluster volumes’ brain activity using the Regional Homogeneity (ReHo) method. Compared with female controls, male controls showed significantly higher ReHo in the left frontal lobe, left temporal lobe, and left occipital lobe, but lower ReHo in the right insula and left parietal lobe. Compared with the female sleep deprivation, male sleep deprivation group showed higher ReHo in the left cerebellum posterior lobe, left parietal lobe, left precentral gyrus, and right frontal lobe, but lower ReHo in the right occipital lobe and right frontal lobe . These results suggested that there are gender differences in regional brain activity during the resting state after normal sleep and after sleep deprivation.