I found this article quite interesting.
Why men are twice as likely to become alcoholics – drinking sparks more pleasure in male brains
Men are twice as likely as women to become alcoholics and now scientists believe they know why.
Researchers from Columbia and Yale universities studied the underlying biology of how drinking affects the brain. They found that consuming beer and wine on a night out gave men a far greater ‘pleasure rush’ than women.
The team compared a group of male and female college-age social drinkers in a laboratory test of alcohol consumption.
Men are twice as likely as women to abuse alcohol. U.S researchers have now found males are more responsive to the legal drug
Men are twice as likely as women to abuse alcohol. U.S researchers have now found males are more responsive to the legal drug (posed by models)
After consuming an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink, each participant underwent a specialized positron emission tomography (PET) scan, an imaging technique that can measure the amount of alcohol-induced dopamine release.
Dopamine has multiple functions in the brain, but is important in this context because of its pleasurable effects when it is released by rewarding experiences, such as sex or drugs.
Despite similar consumptions of alcohol, the men had greater dopamine release than women. This increase was found in the ventral striatum, an area in the brain strongly associated with pleasure, reinforcement and addiction formation.
The findings were reported in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
Study co-author Dr Nina Urban from Columbia university, said: ‘In men, increased dopamine release also had a stronger association with subjective positive effects of alcohol intoxication.
‘This may contribute to the initial reinforcing properties of alcohol and the risk for habit formation.’
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Senior author Dr Anissa Abi-Dargham, added: ‘Another important observation from this study is the decline in alcohol-induced dopamine release with repeated heavy drinking episodes.
‘This may be one of the hallmarks of developing tolerance or transitioning into habit.’
These findings indicate that the ability of alcohol to stimulate dopamine release may play an important and complex role in its rewarding effects and abuse liability in humans.
This identification of an in vivo neurochemical mechanism that could help explain the sex difference in alcoholism is an exciting step forward in alcoholism research.
Alcohol is one of the most commonly abused substances in the world. In Britain one third of men and one sixth of women drink alcohol at a level that is dangerous to their health.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1321767/Why-men-twice-likely-alcoholics–drinking-sparks-pleasure-male-brains.html#ixzz2nMsIstu4
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