Gender equality? Not when it comes to alcohol and the brain

Gender differences in the brain's reward system could mean that women who need help kicking alcohol may need different types of treatment.


Image: © Jupiterimages/Thinkstock

Men and women aren't created equal — at least when it comes to drinking alcohol. If you drink a glass of wine, you will typically have a higher blood alcohol level than a man who drinks the same amount, because of differences in the way your body processes alcohol. And if you drink more than the recommended amount, you may also be more susceptible to health problems — including liver disease and brain changes — than a man who does the same.

A new study from researchers at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston University has added another potential concern to that list, by showing that alcoholism may also have different effects on the reward systems in men's and women's brains.

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