Beware! Heavy Drinking May Affect Men More than Women, Says Study

While you may have thought that women who binge drink are more susceptible to health hazards or that it affect everyone equally, it turns out that men may be the target.

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Beware! Heavy Drinking May Affect Men More than Women, Says Study

Highlights

  1. Men are at a higher risk of developing health ailments in the long run
  2. Long-term alcohol use can change brain functions
  3. Responses of the brain to were stimulated by magnetic pulses
Drinking alcohol regularly has long been touted as a harmful substance that may take a toll on your body. While you may have thought that women who binge drink are more susceptible to health hazards or that it affect everyone equally, it turns out that men may be the target. According to a research, presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, heavy alcohol use may put men at a higher risk of developing health ailments in the long run as compared to women. The research suggests that long-term alcohol use can change brain functions and these changes are significantly different in men and women. The team of researchers worked with a small group of young men and women who indulged in heaving drinking for 10 years, and compared them with another group of young men and women who had negligible or no alcohol use.

All the participants were between the age of 23 and 28 at the time the measurements were taken. The team examined the responses of the brain to being stimulated by magnetic pulses that are known as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), which is responsible to activate brain neurons. The brain activity was measured by using Electroencephalogram (EEG). The results showed  that young men and women reacted differently, with males showing a greater increase in electrical activity in the brain in response to a TMS pulse.

"We found more changes in brain electrical activity in male subjects, than in females, which was a surprise, as we expected it would be the other way around. This means that male brain electrical functioning is changed more than female brains with long-term alcohol use," said Outi Kaarre from University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital, Finland. "There are two types of GABA receptors, A and B. Long-term alcohol use affects neurotransmission through both types in males, but only one type, GABA-A, is affected in females," Kaarre added.

"We know from animal studies that GABA-A receptor activity seems to affect drinking patterns, whereas GABA-B receptors seem to be involved in overall desire for alcohol. It has been suggested that women and men may respond differently to alcohol. Our work offers a possible mechanism to these differences," Kaarre concluded.
 
With Inputs from IANS 


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