Letter | Published:

Differential rates of cerebral maturation between sexes

Naturevolume 254page140 (1975) | Download Citation



TAYLOR and Ounsted1,2 have proposed a model to account for the age of onset of developmental disorders and their relative incidence between the two sexes. They propose that there is a period in the maturational continuum during which the child is particularly vulnerable to a particular disorder. Males develop more slowly than females and they should therefore reach this “dangerous state” later, and take longer to pass through it. It is therefore predicted for any developmental disorder, that males should show a later age of onset and a higher incidence than females2; but that females are more likely to suffer seriously than males1, (although this does not follow directly from the model). Evidence relevant to these predictions is reported here for congenital hydrocephalus.

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  1. 1

    Taylor, D. C., Lancet, ii, 140 (1969).

  2. 2

    Taylor, D. C., and Ounsted, C., in Gender Differences: Their Ontogeny and Significance (edit. by Ounsted, C., and Taylor, D. C.), (Churchill Livingstone, Edinburgh, 1972).

  3. 3

    Laurence, K. M., and Coates, S., Archs Dis. Childh., 37, 345 (1962).

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  1. Neuropsychology Unit, Department of Neurology, The Churchill Hospital, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7LJ, UK



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