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Are there sex differences?

Years ago I read Brain Sex by Anne Moir and David Jessel and learned that women's brains are more decentralized than men's. For example, multiple different brain regions might be responsible for language in women, whereas fewer brain regions are involved in language in men, which may explain why women can have more successful recoveries from stroke injuries.

I am very curious to know whether there are sex differences in your deaf subjects and in your hearing subjects in terms of the connectivity within and between brain regions and across hemispheres. Did you examine this at all or do you have plans to?

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Sex differences in functional connectivity have been reported in the literature, but they seem to be quite small effects; see for example the overlap in histograms for male and female subjects in figure 2 of Biswal et al., 2010.

In this study, the sexes are very similarly distributed across the deaf and hearing subjects (59% and 58% male respectively), so sex is unlikely to impact on the results here.

Given that sex differences in brain connectivity have already been quite thoroughly studied, the novel question here would be whether there is any interaction between sex and the deaf/hearing factor, but I would be surprised if the study is well-powered to detect such an interaction. For example Zuo et al., 2010 had 214 individuals (45% male) spanning a wide age range (7 to 85 years), but only found two small clusters with a significant interaction between age and sex (fig. 5), and one can see from how noisy the plots are that it would be very difficult to conclude anything with a much smaller number of subjects. Having said that, I am not saying that the authors couldn't or shouldn't look at this question with their data.

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