Now scientists may have established why. The study focused on white matter, a key tissue which includes the axons — brain cell elongations that carry signals between different brain areas. The development of white matter in young people is closely associated with gains in cognitive function — or brain power — prompting the team at Pittsburgh University to wonder if there could be differences between males and females. Get The International Pack for free for your first 30 days for unlimited Smartphone and Tablet access. Already a member?
Brain connections may explain why girls mature faster -- ScienceDaily
By Sarah Knapton , Science Correspondent. But now scientists have discovered for the first time that their brains can develop up to ten years earlier than boys. Newcastle University stumbled upon the finding while conducting experiments into how the brain stores information. For girls this can happen as early as 10 years old, but for boys it can take until between 15 and 20 for the same.
Newcastle University scientists have discovered that as the brain re-organizes connections throughout our life, the process begins earlier in girls which may explain why they mature faster during the teenage years. As we grow older, our brains undergo a major reorganization reducing the connections in the brain. Studying people up to the age of 40, scientists led by Dr Marcus Kaiser and Ms Sol Lim at Newcastle University found that while overall connections in the brain get streamlined, long-distance connections that are crucial for integrating information are preserved. The researchers suspect this newly-discovered selective process might explain why brain function does not deteriorate -- and indeed improves -during this pruning of the network.
For the past 50 years, researchers have known that girls who get their periods earlier than their peers are more psychologically vulnerable as teenagers. They have more frequent and severe mental health problems, from depression to anxiety, eating disorders, delinquency, substance abuse and failing or dropping out of school. But next to nothing was known about how long those problems last. Tracking nearly 8, girls from adolescence through their late 20s -- far longer than other studies have -- a Cornell University researcher says girls who get their periods earlier than peers are likely to experience depression and antisocial behavior well into adulthood.