To support the free and open dissemination of research findings and information on alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. To encourage open access to peer-reviewed articles free for all to view.

For full versions of posted research articles readers are encouraged to email requests for "electronic reprints" (text file, PDF files, FAX copies) to the corresponding or lead author, who is highlighted in the posting.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Cognitive functions in abstinent alcohol-dependent patients

The objective of this cross-sectional study was to compare cognitive functioning of abstaining alcohol-dependent (AD) male patients and healthy controls as well as to investigate whether their cognitive performance varied by abstinence length.

Forty-two maintaining abstinent (AD) patients and 34 healthy controls were examined. Tests from the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) were used to assess cognitive functions.

Differences in cognitive performance were found between AD patients and healthy controls. Nonverbal tasks in cognitive domains such as attention, visual memory and working memory were impaired in AD patients who presented deficits in visual episodic memory, had slower reaction time and reduced working memory span. Patients who were abstinent for less than one year made more errors in both attentional set shifting and working memory tests than healthy controls and patients with longer durations of abstinence.

Impairments identified in multiple cognitive domains in abstinent alcohol-dependent subjects suggest functional deficits in extensive brain networks connecting interrelated brain structures.

Attentional control and spatial working memory were less impaired in those AD patients who maintained abstinence for at least one year.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail: