Specifically, the study, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry published on Wednesday, shows that six weeks after drinking is due to changes in the white matter of the brain. According to these results, brain alterations are believed to begin to normalize after the end of consumption.
"Until now, no one could think that alcohol could lead to brain damage," says Santiago Canals, a specialist in the Neuroscience Institute and a research coordinator.
For these purposes, scientists carried out magnetic resonance imaging at a German hospital for more than 90 volunteer patients for rehabilitation treatment.
"Our research group of participants was hospitalized in a detoxification program, controlling the use of addictive substances, which guarantees that it does not drink alcohol," says Canals.
"Therefore, the phase of abstinence, as a critical period, can be followed more closely, because the nutrition is infecting alcohol consumption," he added.
Alcohol abuse is the result of more than 200 illnesses and causes 3.3 million deaths per year. For this reason, early detection of negative effects associated is a priority objective.
Analyze alcohol-dependent rats
Depending on the addiction of alcohol to control the normal transition of the brain, it has been applied in parallel research in ratsMartigia in Sardinia, giving priority to this substance.
"This process is impossible to see in humans, because healthy volunteers and people with alcohol disorder are involved in research," explained Silvia de Santis, the main author of the work of the Neuroscience Institute.
"Alcohol consumption changes the general change in white matter, that is, in the fiber group that communicates different parts of the brain," explained Canals. Changes are more intense in the tubing field – communication between the hemispheres and fimbria – the hipocampus that includes nerve fibers, the basic structure for the creation of memories.
The researchers from Alicante and Germany now avoid the characterization of inflammatory and degenerative processes in an independent and more precise manner, in order to understand early progression of people with alcohol problems.
Future lines of work
Although the adverse effects of the alcohol brain are well known, the observed structural changes are very heterogeneous. In addition, the markers of the diagnosis are lacking to distinguish the brain damage caused by alcohol, especially at the beginning of abstinence, due to the critical period and the high rate of burning.
Therefore, the authors of this study are improving the biological interpretation and interpretation of brain images as a source of new brain biomarkers for personalized medicine in the field of neurology and psychiatry.