Narrator: This is Science Today. There are major differences in how men and women respond to touch, starting from infancy to old age. Dr. Sandra Weiss, of the University of California, San Francisco has studied how touch influences the early neurocognitive development of infants, as well as how therapeutic touch can help patients with heart disease. In all cases, she notes differences in males and females.
Weiss:Females are much more sensitive to touch. It seems as if boys need a lot more strong intensity touch in order to have the kind of impact that we might see girls have from touch.
Narrator: Weiss is currently studying how touch can enhance the development of low birth weight babies. .
Weiss: Low birth weight babies are very vulnerable because often their brains are not fully developed at birth. And also, their central nervous systems are highly responsive to stimulation in the environment. And so they have a tendency to react strongly to touch, as well as certain other kinds of things like sounds in their environment.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.