The Ewha Medical Journal
Ewha Womans University School of Medicine

Current status and significance of research on sex differences in neuroscience: a narrative review and bibliometric analysis

Heajin Kim*
1Seniro researcher, seoul 06130, Korea.
*Corresponding Author: Heajin Kim, Phone: +82-2-6205-9104. E-mail:

© Copyright 2024 Ewha Womans University School of Medicine. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Mar 29, 2024; Revised: Apr 22, 2024; Accepted: Apr 24, 2024

Published Online: Apr 30, 2024


This review aims to highlight the importance of sex differences research by identifying the structural, functional, molecular biological, and disease-specific sex differences in the brain, and to observe the current bibliometric findings of sex differences research through sex differences-related keywords. Web of Science Core Collection was searched to find the related articles, which were indexed from 2010 to 2023.  Structural and functional brain sex differences, with variations in communication patterns between hemispheres, potentially contribute to mental disorders. Neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and GABA exhibit sex differences, contributing to disparities in mental health, addiction, and neurodevelopmental conditions.  Neurodevelopmental disorders like ASD and schizophrenia show sex-based differences in prevalence, symptoms, brain changes, and neurotransmitter disruptions influenced by hormones. Studies on depression, adolescence, hippocampus, amygdala, and cognition are increasing, underscoring the need to consider sex/gender factors. Recent research on sex differences in brain diseases has revealed differences in the structure, function, and neurophysiological substances of the brain, as well as hormones and genes, between the sexes. Sex differences in the incidence of psychiatric disorders such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD), depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s diseases (AD) are receiving greater attention, and the importance of research into the mechanisms of these differences is being increasingly recognized.  However, there is still a lack of research in sex-specific neuroscience for the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and management of these conditions. Advancing inclusive research requires comprehensive training, methodological consensus, diverse perspectives through collaboration frameworks, governmental/institutional support, and dedicated funding to foster appropriate research environments and implementation strategies.

Keywords: Brain; Sex characteristics; Brain diseases; Mental health; Psychiatry