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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christopher J Graver, PhD, ABPP-CN(Madigan Healthcare System)
Description: There are many known differences in the brain between men and women, but how these differences relate to behaviors, disorders, and diseases remains unclear. This book attempts to shed light on the subject.
Purpose: The purpose is to bring to together leading researchers in sex differences to explore sex as a factor in the development and function of human biology and to contribute to the understanding of health and human disease.
Audience: The intended audience appears to be behavioral neuroscientists, psychologists, and medical professionals. It would also be appropriate for students in these disciplines. The editors and contributing authors are well known in the field and have many publications as well as awards for their scholarly contributions.
Features: The book begins with an interesting look at the development of sex differences from an evolutionary and genetic perspective. This is followed by chapters addressing methodological approaches and issues in this field. A discussion of the use of pharmacogenomics as tools for studying CNS disorders largely includes psychological disorders, such as schizophrenia, major depression, and anorexia. There is also a chapter on HPA axis regulation. The book then progresses into chapters involving the relationship between neurobiology and behavior, covering topics like social bonding, motivation, cognitive function, and neuroplasticity. The final section surveys sex differences in the neurobiology of disease. An informative chapter on disease susceptibility covers several topics, such as genes, hormones, autoimmune diseases, and infectious disease. The content is generally well organized into major and minor headings. The chapters tend to be relatively concise, so reading one should not take more than an hour. A moderate number of tables and figures are found throughout the book, but the print quality of some figures is less than satisfactory (e.g., neuroimaging).
Assessment: It is refreshing, as we drown in our politically correct culture, to see authors discourse on the neurobiology of sex differences as a scientific rather than social entity. The book is quite informative on a number of topics and the information is generally up to date. Some chapters with basic science concepts (e.g., genetics and endocrinology) may be a bit advanced for some readers, but there are sure to be many other topics of interest.