Past studies have continually shown the women react to alcohol differently than men. They tend to metabolize alcohol more quickly and are subject to greater health effects as a result of regular drinking.
A study out of Idaho State University is taking a look at gender-specific differences in the way the brain reacts to alcohol. According to Dan Selvage, the researcher conducting the 5-year study, “Females tend to suffer the ravages of alcoholism much more quickly than males,” Selvage said. “Part of that’s due to metabolism, but another part of that is thought to be that alcohol activates body stress responses a lot more in females.”
Using rats as his subjects, Selvage has found that higher estrogen levels are linked to an increased stress response. This stress response prevents the person’s body from responding to the problem, thus causing more health problems. Selvage noted that alcohol tends to decrease testosterone secretion in males, but increases estrogen production in females.
Since women have more stress-related disorders, studies like these can help guide the way to gender-specific medical treatments for alcohol abuse.
Alcohol May Affect Women’s Brains More (AP)