Thanks to their smaller size and higher body fat percentage, women are generally affected by alcohol faster and after fewer drinks than men (not to mention that too much alcohol can up women’s risk of breast cancer). But it’s men’s brains that are affected most by long-term drinking, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology. Researchers found that men experienced significant electrical and chemical changes in their brains, especially in a key neurotransmitter that is responsible for calming and inhibiting, that women did not. (Although both groups of heavy drinkers showed problematic brain changes, so don’t see this as permission to binge drink, ladies!)
Bad news for the fairer sex: women are far more likely to experience chronic pain than men, and to add insult to injury (literally), they need more pain medication to feel relief. Female brains show more neural activity in the pain regions of the brain than male brains, which may explain why women need twice as much morphine as men typically do, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience.
When it comes to physical fitness men definitely have the edge, thanks to their larger lungs and heart and their higher muscle mass. But even though women may not be able to out-lift or out-run the men, they may reap more health benefits from both cardiovascular exercise (like running) and high-intensity interval training sessions (like sprinting alternated with jogging), according to two new studies. Females showed more improvements in heart-health markers than males did and the changes seemed to last longer. However, a third study found that men are more likely to be physically active over the course of their lives than women.