Article

Neuropsychology Review

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 239-257

Alcohol: Effects on Neurobehavioral Functions and the Brain

  • Marlene Oscar-BermanAffiliated withDepartments of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Psychiatry, and Neurology, Boston University School of MedicinePsychology Research Service, VA Healthcare System Email author 
  • , Ksenija MarinkovićAffiliated withRadiology Department, Harvard Medical SchoolAthinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital

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Abstract

Alcoholism results from an interplay between genetic and environmental factors, and is linked to brain defects and associated cognitive, emotional, and behavioral impairments. A confluence of findings from neuroimaging, physiological, neuropathological, and neuropsychological studies of alcoholics indicate that the frontal lobes, limbic system, and cerebellum are particularly vulnerable to damage and dysfunction. An integrative approach employing a variety of neuroscientific technologies is essential for recognizing the interconnectivity of the different functional systems affected by alcoholism. In that way, relevant experimental techniques can be applied to assist in determining the degree to which abstinence and treatment contribute to the reversal of atrophy and dysfunction.

Keywords

Alcoholism Frontal lobes Limbic system Cerebellum Right hemisphere