Chestertown, MD, January 11, 2002 — The Washington College Chapter of Sigma Xi and Psi Chi the National Honor Society in Psychology, as part of the Women in Science Lecture Series, present "SEX DIFFERENCES IN THE BRAIN: FACT OR FICTION?", a lecture by Margaret M. McCarthy, Ph.D., University of Maryland, on Wednesday, February 13, 2002, at 7:30 p.m. in the Litrenta Lecture Hall, Dunning Hall. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.
As a researcher with the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Department of Physiology, Dr. McCarthy focuses on the influence of steroid hormones on the developing brain. For humans and animals, perinatal life—the time period immediately preceding and following birth—is a sensitive period for hormone exposure during which permanent structures in the developing brain are established.
Males and females are exposed to different hormones and hormonal concentrations during this period that result in sex differences in the brain. These differences include alterations in the volumes of particular brain nuclei and patterns of synaptic connectivity. McCarthy believes that the mechanisms by which sexually dimorphic structures are formed in the brain need further exploration and can shed light on how hormonal differences in the perinatal period may contribute to gender differences neurological disorders. For instance, males suffer more from developmental disorders such as dyslexia, autism, stuttering, early-onset schizophrenia, and attention deficit disorder, while females suffer more from adult-onset disorders such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders. Dr. McCarthy is investigating whether these gender differences are due to the difference in hormonal make-up during the perinatal period.
Dr. McCarthy has published widely in numerous peer-reviewed journals including Journal of "Neuroscience", "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences", "Brain Research", "Hormones and Behavior", and "Neuroendocrinology". She also has presented her work at numerous national and international scientific meetings.
This Women in Science Lecture is cosponsored by the Washington College chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, a non-profit membership society of more than 80,000 scientists and engineers supporting excellence in scientific research, education, science policy, and the public understanding of science, and by the Washington College Chapter of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology.