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A study from Stanford University suggests that stressful events affect the brains of boys and girls differently. Girls could suffer more after traumatic events and be more likely to get post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They also say that girls and boys should be treated differently during the recovery process from PTSD. The lead researcher said: "It is important that people who work with traumatised youth consider the sex differences….It is possible that boys and girls could exhibit different trauma symptoms and that they might benefit from different approaches to treatment."
The research was on a part of the brain that deals with emotions and empathy, called the insula. A smaller insula means PTSD is more likely. Researchers said the insula was very small in girls who had experienced trauma. It was larger than usual in boys who had experienced a traumatic event. PTSD is a mental disorder that can develop after traumatic events, such as sexual assault, war, traffic accidents, or life-threatening experiences. Symptoms may include disturbing or suicidal thoughts, nightmares related to the events, and alterations to how a person thinks and feels.
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