Posts Tagged ‘brain’


New Study Shows Alcohol Triggers Higher Stress Response in Women’s Brains

July 17, 2009

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.

Read More
Alcohol May Affect Women’s Brains More (AP)

Technorati technorati tags: , , , ,


Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol, Drugs and Tobbaco Affects Brain Into Adolescence

April 9, 2008

Researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston and Boston Medical Center have found that the effects of fetal exposure to alcohol, drugs and tobacco persist into early adolescence.

The study used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans to the effects on brain structure into early adolescence. Participants of the study included 35 young adolescents, with an average age of 12, prenatally exposed to cocaine, marijuana, alcohol or tobacco. Children with fetal alcohol syndrome were excluded from the study.

“We found that reductions in cortical gray matter and total brain volumes were associated with prenatal exposure to cocaine, alcohol or cigarettes,” says Michael Rivkin, MD, first author on the study. “Importantly, although volume reductions were associated with each of these three prenatal exposures, they were not associated with any one of these substances alone after controlling for other exposures.” The more substances a child was exposed to in utero, the greater the reduction in brain volume.

More than 1 million babies born annually in the US have been exposed to drugs, alcohol or tobacco in utero, making the findings of this study significant. The researchers say that health care providers should offer pregnant women comprehensive care to help them reduce the use of all chemical substances that affect the brain.

The findings of this study were published in the April issue of Pediatrics.

Read More
From Children’s Hospital Boston: Your baby’s brain on drugs (and alcohol and tobacco)

From Pediatrics: Volumetric MRI Study of Brain in Children With Intrauterine Exposure to Cocaine, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Marijuana

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,