Alcoholic women suffer quicker brain damage than men
Washington, Nov 16 : Swedish scientists have found that high alcohol consumption damages the serotonin system in women's brains more readily than that in men's brains.
A significant decrease in the function of the serotonin system in women's brains can be seen after only four years of problem drinking, while it takes 12 years before a corresponding decrease is seen in men.
This is the system that regulates such functions as impulse control and mood.
The research group at the Department of Psychology and the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has studied for the first time three of the major neurotransmitter substances in the brain in a single individual.
They have studied a group of women and a group of men with alcohol dependence.
"We have used what is known as neuroendocrine techniques to show that it is principally the serotonergic system in the brain that is seriously impaired by alcohol. This is the system that regulates impulse control and mood, among other functions," said Kristina Berglund, scientist at the Department of Psychology and representative for the research group.
Both men and women suffer adverse effects, but the effects arise much more rapidly in women.
The results showed that the function of women's serotonin system has fallen by 50percent after as little as four years with problematic alcohol consumption, while it takes 12 years before the function of men's systems is halved.
"It is important to note that the damage is just as serious in men and women, but the time courses are different. We still don't know whether the serotonin system can repair itself, but there are research results showing that other damage to the brain can heal after a certain period without alcohol" added Ulf Berggren of the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.
The results will be published in January 2012 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. (ANI)