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Sex differences and menstrual cycle effects in cognitive and sensory resting state networks.

Weis, S. and Hodgetts, S. and Hausmann, M. (2019) 'Sex differences and menstrual cycle effects in cognitive and sensory resting state networks.', Brain and cognition., 131 . pp. 66-73.


It has not yet been established if resting state (RS) connectivity reflects stable characteristics of the brain, or if it is modulated by the psychological and/or physiological state of the participant. Based on research demonstrating sex hormonal effects in task-related brain activity, the present study aimed to investigate corresponding differences in RS networks. RS functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (RS fMRI) was conducted in women during three different menstrual cycle phases, while men underwent three repeated RS fMRI testing sessions. Independent component analysis was used to identify the default mode network (DMN) and an auditory RS network. For the DMN, RS connectivity was stable across testing sessions in men, but varied across the menstrual cycle in women. For the auditory network (AN), retest reliable sex difference was found. Although RS activity in the DMN has been interpreted as trait characteristic of functional brain organization, these findings suggest that RS activity in networks involving frontal areas might be less stable than in sensory-based networks and can dynamically fluctuate. This also implies that some of the previously reported effects of sex hormones on task-related activity might to some extent be mediated by cycle-related fluctuations in RS activity, especially when frontal areas are involved

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:© 2017 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:05 September 2017
Date deposited:31 October 2017
Date of first online publication:10 October 2017
Date first made open access:10 October 2018

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