Cognitive Disorders in Women

As a group, women differ from men in the skills at which they excel and in their susceptibility to illnesses and exogenous brain insults that influence cognitive function and lead to cognitive disorders. Hormonal effects, especially the influence of female hormones like estrogen, which can protect the brain early in life but negatively influences cognition when its levels drop during aging or illness, are particularly salient for women’s functioning. Women’s brains differ structurally from those of men: Although brain sizes are initially similar for females and males at birth, boys’ brains begin to grow more quickly in early childhood and are larger when full brain size is achieved.

This entry begins with a description of sex differences in certain types of cognitive skills that appear ...

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