Neuropsychology Review

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 239–257 | Cite as

Alcohol: Effects on Neurobehavioral Functions and the Brain

  • Marlene Oscar-BermanEmail author
  • Ksenija Marinković


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.


Alcoholism Frontal lobes Limbic system Cerebellum Right hemisphere 



The writing of this paper was supported by the US Department of Health and Human Services, NIAAA (R01-AA07112, K05-AA00219, and K01-AA13402), the Medical Research Service of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Psychiatry, and NeurologyBoston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  2. 2.Psychology Research ServiceVA Healthcare SystemBostonUSA
  3. 3.Radiology DepartmentHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  4. 4.Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical ImagingMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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