How worrying takes its toll on a woman's brain… because they have to work harder to perform simple tasks than men

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UPDATED:

23:04 GMT, 6 June 2012


Stressed-out: Women who worry find it harder to perform simpler tasks than men, researchers claim (file picture)

Stressed-out: Women who worry find it harder to perform simpler tasks than men, researchers claim (file picture)

If you’re one of those women with a tendency to fret, here’s something else to start worrying about.

Women who are worriers have to work harder to perform simple tasks than men, and make more mistakes on difficult ones, researchers claim.

In a US study, those who suffered from anxiety had distracting thoughts that got in the way of them succeeding.

/06/06/article-2155630-021223A6000004B0-667_468x286.jpg” width=”468″ height=”286″ alt=”Breakthrough It is hoped the discovery will lead to better ways of identifying and treating anxiety problems, which affect women more than men (file picture)” class=”blkBorder” />

Breakthrough It is hoped the discovery will lead to better ways of identifying and treating anxiety problems, which affect women more than men (file picture)

And as the test became more difficult, the anxious women did worse, suggesting that worrying got in the way of completing the task.

Girls who identified themselves as ‘big worriers’ recorded high brain activity when they made mistakes during the test, according to the study published in the International Journal of Psychophysiology.

Professor Jason Moser, who led the study, said the female hormone oestrogen may be driving the increased response in women. It is known to affect the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the front of the brain, the area that controls learning ability.

Professor Moser added: ‘Anxious girls’ brains have to work harder to perform tasks because they have distracting thoughts and worries.

‘As a result their brains are being kind of burned out by thinking so much, which might set them up for difficulties in school.

‘We already know that anxious kids – and especially anxious girls – have a harder time in some academic subjects such as maths.’