men are weaker, chemicals affecting hormones, males become feminized

Women Have Stronger Brains Than Men

January 20, 2009 08:15 AM
by Rachel Balik
A new study using rat and mice cells indicates that female neurons are more able to survive starvation than male neurons.

Women's Brains Are Better Equipped For Surival

Male brain cells are less likely to survive starvation than female brain cells, concludes a new study appearing in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The study, conducted at the University of Pittsburgh's Safar Center for Resuscitation Research, found that female brain cells exhibited less signs of breakdown than male cells after nutrient deprivation.

LiveScience explains that scientists at the University of Pittsburgh placed neurons from rats and mice in a petri dish and starved the neurons for 72 hours. After 24 hours, the female neurons were able to create fat reserves, while the male neurons consumed themselves, a process called autophagy.

The study, available free at PubMed, explains that autophagy leads to cell death.

Related Topic: Male Hormones More Vulnerable to Pollution

Thousands of chemicals released into the environment are interfering with animal and human endocrine systems, resulting in physical changes. Comprehensive research indicates that these chemicals, nicknamed “gender-benders,” are causing the males in many species to become feminized.

In British lowland rivers, 50 percent of male fish were found to be growing eggs in their testes, the Independent reported. Other discovered anomalies include hermaphrodite polar bears or deer with abnormal antler growth.

The full report of the Chem TRUST study, “Effects of Pollutants on the Reproductive Health of Male Vertebrate Wildlife—Males Under Threat,” is available on the organization’s Web site. It emphasizes that the study, which focuses primarily on animals, is also relevant for humans, because “All vertebrates have similar sex hormone receptors.” Thus, the feminization of other animals could indicate a similar pattern in humans. The study also lists the symptoms found in each of numerous species tested, some of which include testicular cancer.

The ill effects of these chemicals have in fact been documented for the human male populations as well. A study led by the Center for Reproductive Epidemiology at the University of Rochester examined baby boys from three different regions of the United States whose mothers had been exposed to substances containing phthalates. Researchers tested expectant mothers for the presence of these chemicals in their urine. Mothers with higher levels of the chemical tended to give birth to baby boys with smaller penises and in some cases, incompletely descended testicles.

Manufacturers of these chemicals, which are used in nail polish, hairspray and perfume bottles, suggested that it was unwise to jump to conclusions based on just one study. However, researchers have also found that male mice exposed to the chemical grow up to have more feminine physical traits, and have found similar results in human boys.

Reference: CHEM Trust and avoiding harmful chemicals

CHEM (Chemicals, Health and Environment Monitoring) Trust is a nonprofit, UK-based organization devoted to “protecting humans and wildlife from harmful chemicals.” Founded in 2007, CHEM Trust seeks to increase awareness about these chemicals, and offers a great deal of background information and links for further research, as well as its own press releases, on their Web site.

For healthier choices about what you consume, findingDulcinea's Web Guide to Organic Food can help you make informed choices and keep chemicals out of your diet.

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