Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Smoking Interferes With Recovery From Alcohol-related Brain Damage

Date:
May 15, 2009
Source:
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research
Summary:
Excessive drinking can damage the brain, especially the frontal and parietal cortices. Some of this damage is reversible with abstinence from alcohol. New findings show that chronic cigarette smoking is associated with poor recovery of brain blood flow during abstinence from long-term heavy drinking.

Alcohol-use disorders (AUDs) can damage the brain, particularly the frontal and parietal cortices, although this damage is at least partially reversible with sustained abstinence from alcohol. Chronic smoking is extremely common among individuals with AUDs. A new study has used longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of brain blood flow to show that smoking makes it harder for brain blood flow to recover from long-term heavy drinking.

"The brain's frontal lobes are involved in higher-order cognitive function, such as learning, short-term memory, reasoning, planning, problem solving, and emotional control," explained Anderson Mon, senior research fellow in the department of radiology at the University of California, San Francisco and corresponding author for the study. "The parietal lobes are involved in aspects of attentional regulation and visuospatial processing. Chronic and excessive drinking is associated with neurobiological abnormalities in these regions, which contribute to the cognitive dysfunction frequently observed in those with AUDs after detoxification."

Cerebral perfusion is a measure of the amount of blood flow to brain tissue per unit time. A normal, uninterrupted flow of blood through the brain is necessary to supply brain tissue with sufficient essential compounds and oxygen for normal metabolism, and will also carry away metabolic byproducts. The brain is only about 1/50th of total body weight, but it demands about 20 percent of the heart's oxygen-rich blood.

"In general, AUDs are associated with reduced perfusion," said Mon. "With abstinence from alcohol, brain perfusion abnormalities may recover, but there are several factors that may influence recovery, such as age, diet, exercise, genetic predispositions and – the topic of our research –other substances such as tobacco products."

Mon and his colleagues measured brain perfusion in the frontal and parietal cortices of three groups of study participants: 19 non-smoking alcohol-dependent (ALC) patients, and 22 smoking ALC patients at one and five weeks of abstinence from alcohol; as well as 28 age-matched non-smoking, light-drinking controls.

Results showed that even though cerebral perfusion among the ALC individuals, as a whole, improved with abstinence from alcohol, those ALC who were chronic smokers demonstrated significantly less perfusion recovery, particularly in the frontal lobes.

"At one week of abstinence, both smoking and non-smoking ALC patients had similar frontal and parietal gray matter perfusion; and both groups had lower perfusion than normal controls," said Mon. "However, after five weeks of abstinence, frontal and parietal gray matter perfusion of the non-smoking ALC patients recovered to normal control levels, whereas the smoking ALC group essentially showed no recovery."

Mon added that these findings are consistent with their earlier neuroimaging studies which found chronic smoking in ALC patients was associated with significantly diminished recovery of markers of neuronal, or nerve cell, and cell membrane integrity in multiple brain regions over the same period as this present study.

"These results suggest that patients who want to stop drinking should be offered an option to stop smoking," said Graeme Mason, associate professor of diagnostic radiology and psychiatry at Yale University. "However, any combined cessation has to be designed carefully."

Study results have been mixed, Mason noted. "One study showed that when patients choose to stop smoking and drinking together, they maintain sobriety longer," he said. "Conversely, another study showed the patients who were required to stop smoking at the same time as they stopped drinking did not stay sober as long as those who were not forced." Free will appears to be an important option, he emphasized.

"Additionally," said Mason, "patients may differ in their abilities to handle abstinence from multiple substances at the same time that they may be dealing with other major events in life, but more successful brain recovery may help make those difficult situations easier to manage appropriately. The work of Mons and colleagues certainly suggests that if a patient wishes to tackle both smoking and drinking at the same time, it will be worth the attempt to that person, helping them recover more complete brain function and stay sober, in addition to other, better known health benefits of smoking cessation."

"In short," said Mon, "prolonged and excessive alcohol consumption is bad for your brain, but a combination of alcohol with smoking is worse."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mon et al. The Impact of Chronic Cigarette Smoking on Recovery From Cortical Gray Matter Perfusion Deficits in Alcohol Dependence: Longitudinal Arterial Spin Labeling MRI. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research, 2009; DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2009.00960.x

Cite This Page:

Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Smoking Interferes With Recovery From Alcohol-related Brain Damage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511164225.htm>.
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. (2009, May 15). Smoking Interferes With Recovery From Alcohol-related Brain Damage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511164225.htm
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Smoking Interferes With Recovery From Alcohol-related Brain Damage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511164225.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins