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Gender And Peripheral Neuropathy In Chronic Alcoholism: A Clinical-Electroneurographic Study

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In some alcohol-related pathologies of chronic alcoholism women are more vulnerable than men. A consecutive sample of 62 chronic alcoholics was studied, 18 females and 44 males, aged between 28 and 69 years to assess the incidence and distribution of peripheral neuropathy with regard to gender. All patients underwent clinical and neurological observations, laboratory tests, and electroneurography. Total lifetime dose of ethanol (TLDE) and other risk factors for neuropathy (disease duration, age, nutritional status) were calculated and correlated to sural nerve sensory-evoked potential (SEP) amplitude. In 42 patients (67.7%), we observed the presence of clinical and/or infraclinical neuropathy, mostly axonal, in 29 males (65.9%) and 13 females (72.2%). In women, compared to men, TLDE and disease duration were significantly inversely correlated to sural nerve SEP amplitude, i.e in women, SEP amplitude is significantly reduced in relation to TLDE and disease duration increase. These data indicate a higher sensitivity of females towards the toxic effects of ethanol, other than malnutrition, on peripheral nerve fibres.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Alcohol and Alcoholism 35: 368-371, 2000. Reprinted with permission from Oxford University Press.

Publication date: March 1, 2001

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