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European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience

, Volume 259, Issue 3, pp 143–150

A MRI studyFirst Online: 22 January 2009Received: 13 March 2008Accepted: 28 August 2008


Chronic alcohol abuse leads to morphological changes of the brain. We investigated if these volumetric changes are reversible after a period of abstinence. For this reason 41 male and 15 female alcohol patients underwent MRI-scanning after in-patient detoxification baseline entering alcoholism treatment programs, and between 6 and 9 months later follow-up, in a phase of convalescence. Additionally, 29 male and 16 female control subjects were examined. The MRI-scans were delineated and the resulting regions of interest, volumes of lateral ventricles and prefrontal lobes were expressed relatively to total brain volume. Compared to control subjects alcohol patients showed bilaterally decreased prefrontal lobes 11% reduction and increased lateral ventricles up to 42% enlargement. The extent of the ventricular increase was depending on patient’s additional psychiatric diagnosis, showing smaller lateral ventricles in patients with additional personality disorder. While at follow-up the size of prefrontal lobes remained unchanged, volumes of the lateral ventricles decreased 5–6% reduction in alcohol patients with abstinence and improved drinking behavior, especially in patients that underwent only one detoxification. The extent of the ventricular enlargement correlated with the elevation of alcohol related laboratory measures mean corpuscular volume, gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase. In conclusion this study confirms the hypothesis that alcoholism causes brain damages that are partially reversible. It should be analyzed in further studies with larger sample sizes, if complete brain regeneration is possible maintaining abstinence over a longer period.

Keywordsalcohol MRI lateral ventricle prefrontal lobe  Download fulltext PDF

Autor: Thomas Wobrock - Peter Falkai - Thomas Schneider-Axmann - Nicole Frommann - Wolfgang Wölwer - Wolfgang Gaebel

Fuente: https://link.springer.com/

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