Women suffer more brain damage from drinking alcohol than men, scientists have confirmed.

A brain scan study found further evidence that women are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of excessive drinking.
The charity Alcohol Concern said the findings were alarming in light of reports of increasing problem drinking among British women. Scientists in Germany carried out CT scans on the brains of 158 volunteers, including 76 alcoholic men and women and 82 healthy “controls”.

The alcoholic participants were recruited from a six-week in-patient treatment program.

Professor Karl Mann, from the University of Heidelberg, who led the study, said: “We were able to confirm the telescoping course of alcohol dependence in women, meaning faster progression of the developmental events leading to dependence among female alcoholics and an earlier onset of adverse consequences.”

The findings also showed that brain damage appeared to develop faster in women.

“We confirmed greater brain atrophy in alcoholic women and men compared to healthy controls,” said Professor Mann. “Furthermore, the women developed equal brain-volume reductions as the men after a significantly shorter period of alcohol-dependence than the men.”

The results supported previous evidence of gender-related harmful effects of alcohol, such as mental impairment, heart and skeletal muscle damage, and liver disease.

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