The long-term effects of alcohol abuse have always been linked to white matter reduction in the brain, which carries side effects that include flat affect and memory problems, but a new study has now determined that the healing process during recovery is separated along gendered lines.
A study out of Boston University's School of Medicine examined the brain images of 42 male and female former alcoholics as well as 42 non-alcoholics, and found a number of differences between the recovering men and women's scans. Although both saw a depletion in white matter, and the number of daily drinks had a more detrimental effect on alcoholic women (the volume loss 1.5 to 2% for each drink), the female individuals who had been off alcohol for under a year showed the reproduction of white matter, but the men showed no sign of improvement yet. However, in people who had abstained from drinking in over a year, progress had slowed in women, while a definite regrowth of white matter was evident in men.
'Alcoholism Affects Men's and Women's Brains Differently' [Psych Central]
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