A series of tests found that nicotine worksdifferently on men's and women's brains. Thestudy showed, however, that one of nicotine'smajor side effects was to make women'sbrains act more like men's. Previous studieshave developed differences in cigarette use.For example, women take fewer and shorterpuffs, have less success with nicotine replacementtherapy, and are more affected by triggersthat cause a desire to light up.
To determine the biological basis for the differences,the researchers tested 119 smokersand nonsmokers while their brain activity wasbeing observed. When given the placebopatch, women generated more brain activity,compared with men. Areas with the most differencescentered on mood, short-term memory,and task organization. The same resultswere not seen when the participants weregiven nicotine. The researchers found thatbrain metabolism dropped in women and rosein men. (The findings were reported in theInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology,March 2005.)