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Girls' edge over boys doesn't just start at birth — it's there in the womb.Scientists at the University of Adelaide say this may be because a mother's placenta behaves differently depending on the gender of her baby. might simply be nature's way of correcting the balance.'Boys are 14 per cent more likely than girls to be born prematurely, partly as a result of this under-nourishment in the womb.A 2009 Canadian study found these hormones act against a certain enzyme which — in men — hinders the body's defences against bacteria and viruses.There are two reasons women need a stronger immune system. Dr Leslie Knapp, of the University of Cambridge, says women are better equipped to fight off illness because they're built to carry on the species: 'It only takes one male to reproduce with lots of females, but females are much more important in terms of producing offspring.'The second explanation is biological, based on the fact that women can bear children.In Britain, there are 150 people over the age of 107, only eight of whom are men.Bessie Camm, a former nurse from Rotherham, Yorkshire, is the UK's oldest person at 112, and puts her longevity down to 'hard work, knowing lovely people and good food'.Studies have shown that females have more white blood cells, the parts of the blood which produce antibodies — natural proteins which neutralise bacteria and viruses.Disease therefore progresses faster in men — and tends to take hold earlier in their lives.

Normally, a person's immune system would reject any such foreign matter.

It's no surprise that adult women's bodies have high levels of oestrogen and progesterone, the female sex hormones.

But did you realise that these help to make their immune system stronger and more flexible?

The debate over the differences between male and female brains has raged for many years, but new research shows they're far more alike than we imagined — and women have the upper hand.

The hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with emotions and memory, is similar-sized in both sexes.

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