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Testosterone Treatment Makes Women Undergoing Sex Change Think More Like Men

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If you are going to look the part, might as well think and feel it, too.

The latest scientific study revealed that when women take testosterone during the process of a sex change, they begin to think more like men do after treatment.

Researchers conducted a study that analyzed brain activity in 18 females who became male transsexuals and presented their findings in Amsterdam, Netherlands, during the annual meeting of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP).

"In more general terms, these findings may suggest that the genuine difference between the brains of women and men is substantially attributable to the effects of circulating sex hormones," said a researcher from the University of Vienna, Professor Rupert Lanzenberger, who also explained that the influence of the hormone on the structure of the human brain extends from early developmental stages and into adulthood.

For their study, the researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans four weeks prior to and after testosterone treatment. The MRI scans revealed that with the testosterone hormone, nerve cells or the gray matter volume in two main regions of the brain were reduced. The two regions associated with language processing were Broca's and Wenicke's areas. A stronger link was also found between the two regions.

Lanzenberger highlighted the "real quantitative difference" in the structure of the brain after being exposed to the male hormone for a prolonged period. "This would have been impossible to understand without looking at a transsexual population," he added.

Typically, men are believed to have stronger spatial ability than women. Women, on the other hand, can do more multitasking and generally have better verbal skills than men. While being treated with testosterone, the male transsexuals were seen to have had diminished verbal and multitasking skills.

According to ECNP's Dr. Kamilla Miskowiak from the Copenhagen University Hospital, the difference of language development between boys and girls is well-known. Speaking on ECNP communications committee's behalf, Miskowiak emphasized the study's importance in gender-related differences in the maturation of the brain.

Moreover, the researchers believe that their study has a wider implication in how men and women deal with speech and interaction.

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