Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

Alcohol v gender.

A team of researchers in the US has studied the brain response of young men and women to an alcoholic drink to find out why men are around twice as likely to become alcoholics as women.

21 young adults (college students) who were social drinkers (not dependent on alcohol) underwent a brain imaging scan on two occasions – once drinking just juice and the other time a mix of juice and alcohol.

In the men but not in the women, a particular region of the brain (called the ventral striatum) activated with dopamine release. High dopamine in this region is associated with pleasure and rewards, such as sex and drugs.

Additionally, this pleasure-related alcohol-induced dopamine release reduced with repeated heavy drinking, explaining why addiction could lead to greater consumption.

N.B. Apart from the small size of the study, a limitation is that the alcohol was drunk, and absorption varies from person to person. Other studies have overcome this problem by injecting a known quantity of alcohol into the bloodstream.


October 18, 2010 - Posted by | Alcohol, Brain, Gender

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