A new brain imagining study has shown that women may be more profoundly affected by drug addiction than males are.
The study, published in the July issue of the journal Radiology, found that women who had formerly been addicted to stimulatants like cocaine and methanphetamine had less gray matter in their brains, even when they had not used in a year. On the other hand, male drug abusers showed no difference from healthy men in brain scans.
“Gray matter is important because it is where signals are generated in the brain that gives us the ability to think, move and behave,” explained study author Dr. Jody Tanabe, a professor of radiology from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, Colo.
The study reinforced the need to look into the difference between the sexes when it comes to the dangers of substance abuse.
“These findings may help to shed light on the greater severity of drug-use symptoms experienced by females, including escalation of drug use, larger quantities used and greater difficulty quitting compared with males,” suggested Vaughan Rees, a professor of social and behavioral sciences at Harvard School of Medicine in Boston.