MRI uncovers gender differences in the long-term effects of alcoholism

December 3, 2013

Historically viewed as primarily the domain of men, alcohol abuse is more and more an equal-opportunity affliction. Now, researchers are beginning to unravel the often complex differences in the brains of male and female alcoholics, understandings of which could contribute to more effective treatments.

As part of a special series on addiction, Boston University's BU Today recently profiled affiliated Martinos researchers Marlene Oscar Berman, Susan Mosher Ruiz and Kayle Sawyer and work they are doing to examining the long-term effects of alcoholism on the brain - in particular on white matter in the brain, loss of which can be tied to concerns such as impaired thinking and emotional imbalance - and how these differ between men and women. The article, "Why Alcoholics' Gender Matters," describes MRI studies conducted at the Martinos Center and looks at the possible implications of the findings.