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J Am Med Womens Assoc. 2004 Summer;59(3):225-7.

Do women possess a unique susceptibility to the neurotoxic effects of alcohol?

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA.


Neurodegeneration and neurological impairment associated with alcohol dependence have been observed predominantly in alcohol-dependent men. Thus little research has examined the neuropathological consequences of alcoholism in women. Recent evidence obtained from both human and animal studies, however, suggests that women may well be at greater risk of alcohol-induced brain injury than men are. Further, researchers have used animal models to identify molecular events that may contribute to this putative sex difference. Such data are likely of significance in both understanding women's unique susceptibility to neurotoxic effects of alcohol and addressing the possibility that the medical management of alcoholism in women and men may require distinct approaches. As a whole, these findings clearly indicate the need for a significant expansion of both clinical and basic science research of this topic.

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