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  • Publication
    Young Women do it Better: Sexual Dimorphism in Temporal Discrimination
    The temporal discrimination threshold (TDT) is the shortest time interval at which two sensory stimuli presented sequentially are detected as asynchronous by the observer. TDTs are known to increase with age. Having previously observed shorter thresholds in young women than in men, in this work we sought to systematically examine the effect of sex and age on temporal discrimination. The aims of this study were to examine, in a large group of men and women aged 20–65 years, the distribution of TDTs with an analysis of the individual participant’s responses, assessing the 'point of subjective equality' and the 'just noticeable difference' (JND). These respectively assess sensitivity and accuracy of an individual’s response. In 175 participants (88 women) aged 20–65 years, temporal discrimination was faster in women than in men under the age of 40 years by a mean of approximately 13 ms. However, age-related decline in temporal discrimination was three times faster in women so that, in the age group of 40–65 years, the female superiority was reversed. The point of subjective equality showed a similar advantage in younger women and more marked age-related decline in women than men, as the TDT. JND values declined equally in both sexes, showing no sexual dimorphism. This observed sexual dimorphism in temporal discrimination is important for both (a) future clinical research assessing disordered mid-brain covert attention in basal-ganglia disorders, and (b) understanding the biology of this sexual dimorphism which may be genetic or hormonal.
      304Scopus© Citations 10
  • Publication
    Age-related Sexual Dimorphism in Temporal Discrimination and in Adult-onset Dystonia Suggests GABAergic Mechanisms
    Background: Adult-onset isolated focal dystonia (AOIFD) presenting in early adult life is more frequent in men, whereas in middle age it is female predominant. Temporal discrimination, an endophenotype of adult-onset idiopathic isolated focal dystonia, shows evidence of sexual dimorphism in healthy participants. Objectives: We assessed the distinctive features of age-related sexual dimorphism of (i) sex ratios in dystonia phenotypes and (ii) sexual dimorphism in temporal discrimination in unaffected relatives of cervical dystonia patients. Methods: We performed (i) a meta-regression analysis of the proportion of men in published cohorts of phenotypes of adult-onset dystonia in relation to their mean age of onset and (ii) an analysis of temporal discrimination thresholds in 220 unaffected first-degree relatives (125 women) of cervical dystonia patients. Results: In 53 studies of dystonia phenotypes, the proportion of men showed a highly significant negative association with mean age of onset (p < 0.0001, pseudo-R2 = 59.6%), with increasing female predominance from 40 years of age. Age of onset and phenotype together explained 92.8% of the variance in proportion of men. Temporal discrimination in relatives under the age of 35 years is faster in women than men but the age-related rate of deterioration in women is twice that of men; after 45 years of age, men have faster temporal discrimination than women. Conclusion: Temporal discrimination in unaffected relatives of cervical dystonia patients and sex ratios in adult-onset dystonia phenotypes show similar patterns of age-related sexual dimorphism. Such age-related sexual dimorphism in temporal discrimination and adult-onset focal dystonia may reflect common underlying mechanisms. Cerebral GABA levels have been reported to show similar age-related sexual dimorphism in healthy participants and may be the mechanism underlying the observed age-related sexual dimorphism in temporal discrimination and the sex ratios in AOIFD.
      212Scopus© Citations 14