Aug 3 2017

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Men and women abuse the same drugs, but not always in the same ways. When women smoke cigarettes, they take shorter and fewer puffs and experience improvements in mood that men do not. Women generally are less successful in quitting. To the UC Irvine study team, these behavioral and experiential differences suggested that nicotine might affect men’s and women’s brains differently.

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“Some effects of nicotine on brain metabolism was not due to the effects of chronic smoking, but rather a fundamental biological difference between men and women in their response to nicotine,” Dr. Potkin says. “Everyone knew that there were differences in male and female smoking behavior and smoking rates, but assumed they were just cultural. Based on our findings, a more likely explanation is an interplay of cultural and biological differences. That provides an interesting starting point for devising gender specific interventions.”

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