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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Men and Women had opposite responses in the right front of the insular cortex

Why Not?
Sex differences leading to shaping of the Salience Network and thus regulating both body responses and "identity" formation
The hub of the Salience Network upon which we have commented many times...the INSULA (known as Insular Cortex) is one of the most important areas of brain function.
Researchers found that men and women had opposite responses in the right front of the insular cortex, a part of the brain integral to the experience of emotions, blood pressure control and self-awareness.
http://journal.frontiersin.org/…/10.3…/fneur.2016.00087/full
This is such a critical brain area and we hadn’t expected to find such strong differences between men and women’s brains,” said Paul Macey, the study’s lead author. “
These sex related preferences are clearly built upon other aspects of the Insula which must monitor and regulate autonomic nervous system
On our Page we have posted on this quite often recenty stressing that this network in the brain and this 'hub' , the insula, are central to both dysfunction in many cognitive/neuropsychiatric conditions, at the core of awareness of body image and thus the actual fibers from which "idenity' is woven.
Consequently, we had also previously posted on the finding that so many seemingly disparate psychitatric diagnoses all found some disfunction of one kind or another with the Salience Network
We concluded ...based on what we know of sex diference literature and its complete neglect of this area thus far...that here would be a place to investigate the "gender dysphoria phenomenon in our society as it relates to the typical manner in which sex differences have an effect on the development and then ongoing function of this salience network
The authors say, "This raises several questions for us, such as why is there a difference in brain pattern and might it reflect differences in health issues for men and women, particularly in cardiovascular disease variations,” Macey said.
Our own interpretation of the likely eitology of these findings is that the salience network has a key role in sexual dimorphism of many key behaviors. This is because it basically is a determinant of "what is important" or "what matters to the person".
When looked at more closely, this is where so called 'nature" and 'culture" meet. Given a context of sexually reproductive hormonal signalling and "reward determination"...then the salience network shapes itself accordingly to reflect the underlying reward confirguration.
The :"cultural aspects" -- if unobstructed...by either milieu or disfunction of the salience network...emerge directly from the "nature" of the organism. The means by which this background context is operative is through the hormonal balances produced in the service of the underlying sexual reproductive nature of the organism....male or female.
Our bodies (including our brains) are set up within the sex and reproductive framework to "value" various experiences above others...and to make those "salient". if that were not true, then the species would not have survived.
This is ultimately a function of among other key aspects of the sexual framework of the person(genetically and hormonally) and the way in which they might be set up to value experiences of one kind or another as rewarding based on the manner in which those experiences play into those reward aspects that go to the structuring and maintenance of the salience network.
(And, yes, if there are underlying variance in the configuration of the sexually reproductive operation of the organism...they will lead, in turn, to differing shaping and operation of the Salience network as it enables "identity" to arise....)
We believe that the functional connectivity of this network is both a cause and effect of hormonal levels. We also suspect strongly that HRT with estradiol acts to shift the mode of operation of this network ...in those who might benefit...to a more balanced effective level of function.
The way the brain works has to ultimately reflect the reward structuring of the networks in the brain. Key to this salience network is the dopamine/oxytocin regulation of how reward helps thie "wiring" arise and function.
One key aspect of our notion of how this works is that "oxytocin" although it is always simplistically regarded as some "love/trust/social bonding' determinant is actually more generally a determinant of how we react to 'novelty"..and in the life or an organism such as us, what is salient is precisely what is "novel' insofar as it is unexpected and not within the previously developed anticipatory schema of functioning in that situation.
A vast proportion of our daily lives are involved in these interactions with others...that could be called social...for want of a better word (we are not out in the forest alone), and the ongoing awareness of the variance and novelty which has to result from interaction with other creatures who are said to have "free will" so that we cannot possibly anticipate clearly what they will do or say must fall within the influence of oxytocin function.
Any hormonal impact on this network and the insula. before birth, immedately after birth, and forever afterward...will leave its mark, via ongoing experience and structuring of this salience network, either for better or worse
There are a variety of conditions which are al simply the product of the blind men of medicine touching the same elephant that they cannot see. They label these conditions that they can diagnose as a whole range of syndromes, depending on which specialty the physician is in.
To find the answers, further study on this difference will be needed to gain a better understanding of susceptibility to disease, efficacy of drugs and even the course of normal development among all individuals, not just between men and women.
“We believe that differences in the structure and function of the insula in men and women might contribute to different clinical symptoms in some medical disorders,” Macey said
The Transgender Phenomenon, we believe, will essentially only be beter understood by focus on this amazing 'insula" and what it does...or doesn't do for a person.
Many who sense an imbalance in the function of this network and 'identity' issues...much broader in fact than simply 'gender"...are taking an active step to remedy this imbalance by HRT. This is not because some magical spot in the brain, specifically devoted to "gender identity" is causing them to feel thaty they need to adjust and to adjust their 'gender idenitity.
Identity is not simply something superficial like putting a "hat on" from a different team or looking at yourself and saying that's me"...nor is it having an ongoing picture or image in our mind that we keep conforming to.
If there were no sexes at all. an organism like us who still have to develop an Identity that would allow that organism to somehow relate its former acts and experience to the ones at present and to the future. Identity is a way that an organism holds itself together and creates those linkages for itself insofar as it unites the manner in which it deals with past events and the current events and projects into the future events it anticipates.
The structure of identity includes many aspects, only one of which is what we talk about as the 'gender"...but a multitude of others are involved...in the coherence of the actions from past through present into the future. When something is wrong with that "identity" structure (not the entire brain)...then it shows up in various ways in various people...in the way they perceive and react to situations, in their memory, and what they attend do and how they attend...
The problem for many of the neuropsychiatric diagnoses is an irregularity ( resulting either form genetic, epigenetic gene expression, or hormonal or other influences directly upon it ) with some element of fhat identify structure throwing off the function of the entire 'identity" structure that sustains them everyday in the world...and that "gender" is only one aspect of Identity ..among many that can be considered in order to remediate that "identity" structure..;.and HRT does that...while it also is of benefit to many in terms of attention, ASH, anxiety, and depression which other aspects of the dysfunction of this Salience Network
So this study is a promising first step...and reveals that others are beginning to think of it the same way we have......as the place to look if you want to engage in any intelligent and intelligibe talk about male and female br
Of course this goes a long way to backing up our hunch that some hormonal replacement of one kind or another can be expected to have an impact on the way this network functions....because it cleartly does already as indicated by the sex differences...and thuspossibly helop remediate some of the symptoms associated with those other condition