Gender equality is only an illusion when it comes to medicine. A new report reveals that women’s brains get deeply affected as a consequence of extensive use of stimulant drugs. Cocaine and methamphetamine are known to dramatically decrease the volume of gray matter in women’s brains, while male subjects are hardly affected by prolonged drug abuse.
Brain scans show that women who experienced stimulant drugs addiction own a significantly smaller amount of gray matter. Gray matter is essential for our brains, as it is the place where signals are generated in the brain, offering us the ability to think, behave and move.
Scientists are still strangers to the reasons why the dramatic effects of drug abuse show prevalence in women subjects, while men seem to be untouched by the unfortunate consequences of addiction.
The decrease in gray matter observed in women influences dramatic changes that can affect crucial emotional and decision making abilities. The long-term consequences of drug addiction extend over vast periods of time, even after lingering abstinence or complete abandon of drug use.
Nature operates with dramatic differentiators and it seems that at a biological level women are discriminated, as men who abuse stimulants undergo no specific brain volume changes. Male brains are immune to drug addiction while at the other end, women are highly vulnerable in front of it.
One year after women stopped taking drugs, MRI’s performed on their brains revealed that their gray matter had shrunk considerably. Further analysis showed vast changes in the brain structures responsible with reward, learning and the control of behavioral and organizational functions.
Women are naturally designed with a heightened level of sensitivity not only in relation to life matters but also on a biological, operational and rational level.
“Since the brain consists of numerous cells and the spaces between cells, we do not know if some of the cells die, become smaller, or if the spaces between the cells become smaller”, scientists declare.
The study was based on research and analysis performed on 59 people, out of which 28 were women and 31men. All study subjects were previously addicted to cocaine, amphetamines or methamphetamines. Researchers wanted to analyze the way in which brains of former addicts look like, compared to the ones of healthy people. They also differentiated their analysis based on gender . All study subjects had experienced drug abuse for an average of nearly 16 years. To strengthen their findings, experts compared the first group to another, consisting of 68 healthy participants, namely 28 women and 40 men, all similar in age to those who had been addicted to stimulants.
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