|Cingulum. Association fiber around corpus callosum in brain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
But today's post really isn't about Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, but about the fact that scientists and researchers continue to study how men and women's bodies, and specifically certain organs, respond to outside influences. This past week the results of a new study's findings were released which demonstrates that alcoholism affects men and women's brains differently. Here are some details about the study:
- This research was conducted by scientists from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System.
- The lead researchers were Susan Mosher Ruiz, Ph.D. and Marlene Oscar Berman, Ph.D.
- The researchers used structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the gender specific effects of drinking on brain white matter (white matter is what forms the connections between neurons, which in turn allows for communication between the different parts or sections of the brain).
- The researchers compared the MRIs of 42 abstinent alcoholic men and women (who had a history of heavy drinking in excess of five years) to 42 nonalcoholic men and women.
- A greater number of years of alcohol abuse was associated with smaller white matter volumes in the alcoholic men and women.
- In the men, the decrease was observed in the corpus callosum, while in women this effect was observed in cortical white matter regions.
- The number of daily drinks had a strong impact on alcoholic women, with the volume loss 1.5 to 2 percent for each additional drink.
- In men, white matter brain volume in the corpus callosum recovered at a rate of 1 percent per year for each year of abstinence. For people who abstained less than a year, the researchers found evidence of increased white matter volume and decreased ventricular volume in women, but not in men. However, for people in recovery for more than a year, those signs of recovery disappeared in women and became apparent in men.