Women’s Brains More Easily Hurt by Drinking

Female drinkers lose brain volume more quickly than men, according to researchers at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.

The BBC reported May 15 that researchers took brain scans of 150 women – about half of them alcoholics – and found that the heavy drinkers have smaller brains. Female alcoholics were found to lose the same brain volume as male alcoholics, but suffered atrophy much more quickly.

"Women typically start drinking later in life and consume less" said lead study author Karl Mann. "But there is evidence for a faster progress of the events leading to dependence among female alcoholics and an earlier onset of adverse consequences of alcoholism. This suggests that women may be more vulnerable to chronic alcohol consumption."

The findings were reported in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Epidemiological Research.

From Join Together Online

Mann, K., Ackermann, K., Croissant, B., Mundle, G., Nakovics, H., & Diehl, A. (2005) Neuroimaging of Gender Differences in Alcohol Dependence: Are Women More Vulnerable? Alcoholism: Clinical and Epidemiological Research, 29(5): 896-901.

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