The brain, it appears, is not a battleground for the battle of the sexes.

That's because there is no such thing as a 'male brain' and a 'female brain,' according to a first-of-its-kind study that examined sex differences in the brain as a whole.

Scientists at Tel Aviv University in Israel analyzed MRI scans of more than 1,400 brains from multiple studies.

They concluded that the brain does not reflect a clear dichotomy based on gender differences in the same way that say, sex organs do. Instead, human brains are unpredictable mash-ups of "masculine" and "feminine" traits.

The researchers also found no distinction between men and women when it comes to gray matter, white matter and brain connections.

"Brains with features that are consistently at one end of the 'maleness-femaleness' continuum are rare," the authors wrote this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "Rather, most brains are comprised of unique 'mosaics' of features — some more common in females compared with males, some more common in males compared with females, and some common in both females and males."

Though the new findings tackle brain biology, they do not address questions of how a person's gender affects behavior. In other words, whether brain differences stem from nature vs. nurture.

Allie Shah • 612-673-4488

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