The brain is an extraordinary machine. Although we now know much more about how it works, there are still many areas of research relating to it.

Dr. David Wells, a researcher in the Neuroscience department of Humanitas University, spoke about the brain as a guest on the Italian, Channel 4.


Is it true that the brains of men weigh more than women?

“Yes, tentatively yes, but this has nothing to do with the cognitive abilities. These are not dependent on the brain’s structure, i.e. its size, shape or weight. Rather cognitive abilities are based on the ability of neurons to contact each other (synapses).”


What are the differences between the brain of a man and a woman?

“The differences are not as pronounced as it is generally believed. It is understood that there is a kind of “multimorphism” in the brain, that it is a little bit male and a little bit female. Meaning it has more masculine or more feminine characteristics. For example, the amygdala – the brain region responsible for emotional control – lights up when we feel strong emotions and does so in the same way in men and in women, but with different stimuli. In men the prevailing stimulus is that of aggression. In women the prevailing ones are those which are related to the emotional sphere.”


It is true that with aging the number of neurons decreases?

“Yes, it’s true. We must therefore consider our behavior. We know for example that consuming too much alcohol is harmful. In fact, alcohol builds up toxic substances that enter the bloodstream and destroy neurons in the brain. Neurons have a plastic capacity, ie they are able to compensate for the loss of other neurons, increasing the functionality and power of the synapses; so despite the fact that there are less neurons, the remaining synapses work better.” It should be stressed that  “Doing new activities triggers neurogenesis, which is the production of new neurons. It is therefore important to always be curious and try out new things.” says Dr Wells.