Oh Oh: “Substance abuse reduces brain volume in women but not men”

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Stimulant drug abuse has long-term effects on brain volume in women…Brain structures involved in reward, learning and executive control showed vast changes even after a prolonged period of abstinence from drug use.

“…women who were previously dependent on stimulants had significantly less gray matter volume in several brain areas compared to healthy women…These brain areas are important for decision making, emotion, reward processing and habit formation.”

“Lower gray matter volumes in women who had been stimulant dependent were associated with more impulsivity, greater behavioral approach to reward, and also more severe drug use,” Dr. Tanabe said. “In contrast, all men and healthy women did not show such correlations.”

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