Journal of Molecular Neuroscience

, Volume 60, Issue 3, pp 383–389

Cognitive Decline and Recovery in Alcohol Abuse



Alcohol consumption triggers a neuroinflammatory response which, if prolonged, can lead to substantial volume loss in both gray and white matter. This brain injury is associated with characteristic cognitive deficits, and, in extreme cases, with dementia. Even mild cognitive impairment creates a significant hurdle for alcohol rehabilitation, because the domains that are affected tend to be those important for sustaining abstinence. Thus, cognitive decline induced by alcohol contributes to the persistence of alcoholism. Here, I present converging data from animal and clinical studies that show how alcohol affects the brain and behavior. Although there is currently no targeted treatment for overcoming alcohol-induced cognitive decline, emerging evidence suggests that physical activity is both protective and restorative. This is a potential avenue for future programs targeted at treating alcohol abuse.


Alcohol Alcohol abuse Cognitive decline Neurotoxicity Rehabilitation Exercise 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Behavioural Neuroscience DivisionFlorey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental HealthParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Florey Department of Neuroscience and Mental HealthUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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