Cognitive decline and recovery in alcohol abuse

Christina J. Perry*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-389
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Molecular Neuroscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • alcohol
  • alcohol abuse
  • cognitive decline
  • neurotoxicity
  • rehabilitation
  • exercise


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