Closing the Gender Gap: The Case for Gender-Specific Alcoholism ResearchSusan Mosher Ruiz1,2 and Marlene Oscar-Berman1,2,3*
- Corresponding Author:
- Marlene Oscar-Berman
Boston University School of Medicine,
L-815, 72 East Concord Street, Boston,
MA 02118, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Received date: August 16, 2013; Accepted date: August 24, 2013; Published date: August 27, 2013
Citation: Ruiz SM, Oscar-Berman M (2013) Closing the Gender Gap: The Case for Gender-Specific Alcoholism Research. J Alcoholism Drug Depend 1:e106. doi: 10.4172/2329-6488.1000e106
Copyright: © 2013 Ruiz SM, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
As the number of women who use alcohol increases, so does the number of women who engage in alcohol abuse and develop alcohol dependence. The recent increased focus on women and gender differences in alcoholism research has largely come about following recognition that the face of alcoholism is changing, with alcoholism rates among men remaining stable and rising among women, particularly in younger women. As such, the need to understand gender differences in both acute and long-term effects of alcohol abuse has never been more critical.
Gender differences in the long-term effects of chronic alcoholism on the brain and other systems are currently under debate, often with a focus on proclaiming whether men or women suffer the most impact. However, the story appears to be more complex than that. The issue of how alcoholism interacts with gender is complicated, as gender differences in many factors including alcohol metabolism, alcoholism progression, problematic drinking patterns, neurobiology, hormones, and psychiatric comorbidities will contribute to the differences in structural and functional outcomes observed experimentally across domains of inquiry. While women are now much more commonly included in studies of alcohol’s effects on the brain, there remains a need for more explicit examinations of gender effects.