Women’s Brains Hit Hardest By Alcohol

Binge-drinking harms women’s brains more than it does men’s, according to research published yesterday. Tests suggest that excessive drinking undermines cognitive abilities such as memory, problem solving and planning more rapidly in women.

Previous studies have shown women who become dependent on alcohol suffer more rapid damage to the liver, heart and muscles than men. The new research, published in the May issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found female alcoholics may also sustain greater brain damage than male alcoholics.

James Garbutt, professor of psychiatry and research scientist at Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina, said: “Our study reveals that excessive alcohol can reduce one’s intellectual abilities. This is important because this knowledge might have increased motivating power to help some individuals move away from destructive drinking.”

Researchers compared the performance of 78 male alcoholics, 24 female alcoholics and 68 non-alcoholics in a series of mental tests. The females performed worst on tests involving visual memory, planning, problem solving, and cognitive flexibility.

Dr Barbara Flannery, said: “Women should be made aware and this includes teenagers and students, that alcohol has a more detrimental effect on them than men.”