15/10/2015 06:57 BST | Updated 16/10/2015 05:59 BST

Male Brains May Be Wired To Prioritise Sex Over Food, Study Suggests

It seems men may have "sex on the brain" more often than women do.

According to a new study, the male brain contains two extra cells that can cause men to seek out sex as a priority, even over food. Female brains do not contain these cells.

The research, conducted by scientists at University College London, may have been carried out on tiny transparent worms, but co-author Professor Scott Emmons has insisted the findings offer an insight into human sex habits.

"Though the work is carried out in a small worm, it nevertheless gives us a perspective that helps us appreciate and possibly understand the variety of human sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identification," he said, according to The Telegraph.

"Although we have not looked in humans, it is plausible that the male human brain has types of neurons that the female brain doesn't, and vice versa. This may change how the two sexes perceive the world and their behavioural priorities."

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The researchers studied the brains and behaviours of Caenorhabditis elegans - small soil-dwelling worms that grow to 1mm long - to draw their conclusions.

The worm species is made up of two sexes: males and hermaphrodites. Scientists consider the latter "modified females" that do not need to have sex in order to reproduce.

Caenorhabditis elegans are often used in studies relevant to human biology and disease as they contain many of the same genes that humans do.

After recently discovering that the male worms contained two extra brain cells, the researchers wanted to find out what impact this could have on their behaviour.

They conditioned the worms in a controlled environment so that they would associate the appearance of salt with starvation.

Over the course of the experiment, the worms began to move away from the salt.

However, when salt was present at the same time as a potential mate, the male worms risked getting close to the salt in order to advance sexually.

In contrast the hermaphrodite worms continued to move away from the salt.

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The study, published in the online journal Nature, concludes that male brains may be genetically wired to prioritise sex over food.

This isn't the first study to suggest men and women's brains may be wired differently.

In 2013, a study from the University of Pennsylvania found that men generally have more connections within each hemisphere of the brain, while in women the two halves of the brain are much more interlinked.

The scientists concluded that male brains are mainly configured to co-ordinate perception and action, while women's are more geared up to integrate "heart and mind" thought processes, linking analytical and intuitive reasoning.

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