Prolonged consumption of alcohol alters brain functions very differently in men and in women, and could be more harmful in the case of men, according to a study.
A new study involving young men and women shows that these alterations are very different depending on whether they are men or women , and that they affect the male brain more . In fact, as explained by Outi Kaarre of the University of Eastern Finland and principal investigator, more changes were observed in the electrical activity of the brains of men, and the results showed that alcohol causes more pronounced alterations in electrical neurotransmission and chemistry in men than in women.
The study was carried out with a group of young men (11 men and 16 women) between the ages of 23 and 28, who consumed alcohol for ten years, compared with another group of young men (12 men and 13 women) who acted as a control, so they did not drink alcohol during that period, or their consumption was relatively lower. The researchers analyzed the brain responses of the participants when stimulated by magnetic pulses, using a technique called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, (TMS) that activates brain neurons, and measured their brain activity with an electroencephalogram (EEG) .
INCREASED BRAIN ELECTRICAL ACTIVITY IN MEN
The electrical activity of the brain was higher in men, suggesting that, according to the researchers, alcohol further alters brain functions in men, as they found that the consumption of this substance over a prolonged period affected the brain.
Neurotransmission in both types of GABA, A and B receptors, whereas in women it only affected the GABA-A receptor.
Researchers now have to find out what the implications of their finding are, but it is known that the neurotransmitter GABA is involved in inhibiting numerous brain functions and the central nervous system, and is an important factor in the development of anxiety and depression. Previous studies in animals had shown that GABA-A influenced consumption patterns, and GABA-B was associated with general desire to drink alcohol .
Kaarre said the results confirm that drinking alcohol is harmful to young people, and that drinking affects men and women differently in the long run. He added that they should now find out how those differences manifest themselves, and that the sex of the patient should probably be taken into account when addressing treatment and prevention of alcoholism.