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Gender and differing rates of brain activity influence the level of reading and language skills for boys and girls

Pittsburgh, Pa. -- Coherence of the EEG (electroencephalogram) or electrical waves generated by the brain is a derived measure of wave similarity at two spatially separated brain sites. This measure serves as an indirect measure of functional connections throughout the brain. When examined over three-month time periods, coherence oscillations (peaks and valleys) reflect changes in functional connects between paired brain sites, independent of whether the changes are caused by genetic or environmental conditions.

The current study has investigated the emerging connectivity of neural networks associated with phonological processing, verbal fluency, higher-level thinking and word retrieval, all skills needed for beginning reading in boys and girls over a specified period of time.

The author of the current, ongoing study, Gender Differences Observed in Preschoolers Emerging Neural Networks is Harriet Hanlon, Ph.D., associated with Virginia Polytechnic and State University, located in Falls Church, Va. Their findings are being presented at Genomes and Hormones: An Integrative Approach to Gender Differences in Physiology, an American Physiological Society (APS) conference being held October 17-20, 2001, at the Westin Convention Center, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Dr. Hanlons research adds to her previous research study, Gender Differences in the Development of EEG Coherence in Normal Children, co-authored with Robert W. Thatcher Ph.D., and Marvin J. Cline Ph.D. The research findings in that cross-sectional study concluded that males and females develop anatomical brain regions for known functional tasks on different time schedules. Since these changes appear in many brain regions around age seven and 11 years, the authors assumed that boys and girls each have specific functional goals that must be met in each period. That study appeared in Developmental Neuropsychology, 16(3), 479-506.

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Contact: Donna Krupa
703-967-2751
American Physiological Society
18-Oct-2001


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