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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Women alcoholics suffer quicker brain damage


Women alcoholics suffer damage to the part of their brain that controls moods, impulses and sleep three times faster than their male counterparts, a Swedish study showed today.

Women suffer a 50 per cent reduction in the so-called serotonin function in their brain after four years of excessive drinking, while men show the same amount of damage
after 12 years of alcohol abuse, according to the study by researchers at Gothenburg University.

"The impairment is progressing much faster in women," explained Kristina Berglund, who conducted the study with colleagues from the university`s Department of Psychology, as well as two researchers at the faculty of Health Sciences, known as the Sahlgrenska Academy.

Serotonin is a brain neurotransmitter that is, among other things, critical to the development and treatment of depression and chronic anxiety.

It also regulates impulse control and our ability to fall asleep and stay awake.

The researchers studied several brain functions of 42 people -- a third of them women -- who admitted to alcohol dependency, along with 28 control subjects.

"We saw that the alcohol dependent individuals had significantly lower serotonin functions," Berglund said.

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