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Brains can recover from alcoholic damage but patients should stop drinking as soon as possible

history of alcohol dependence (25 years) had a slightly reduced brain volume (-0.19%), but that value is within the margin of measurement error. Volumetric brain recovery was signified by the patients?brains expanding beyond their previous limits, with an outward brain edge shift for the outer regions and an inward shift for the inner ones.

"In addition, on average across all the patients, cerebellar choline levels increased by about 20%, while levels of NAA in the cerebellar and frontal region of the brain and frontal choline significantly increased by about 10%. Brain volume regeneration correlated with the percentages increase in choline, indicating that volume regain is driven primarily by rising choline levels, while the more the NAA recovered, the better the patients performed on the d2-test."

There were no significant changes in the controls.

Dr Bartsch and his colleagues were confident that the increase in brain volume and form was not simply due to rehydration of the brain, as concentrations of choline and NAA increased even when water levels and other metabolites did not change significantly.

"Our results indicate that early brain recovery through abstinence does not simply reflect rehydration. Instead, the adult human brain, and particularly its white matter, seems to possess genuine capabilities for re-growth. Our findings show the ways that the brain can recover from the toxic insults of chronic alcoholism and substantiate the early measurable benefits of therapeutic sobriety. However, they also suggest that prolonged dependence on alcohol may limit rapid recovery from white matter brain injury.

"Modern neuroimaging enables us to monitor morphological, metabolic and other functional brain changes. Usually this has been applied to evaluate the degree and speed of brain degeneration in illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease or multiple sclerosis. Here, we show that neuroimaging can also demonstrate and qua
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Source:Oxford University Press


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