Acute alcohol intake has pronounced effects on brain function. However, the exact mechanism of action is unclear. Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging (dwMRI) can detect subtle changes in microstructural neural states. Here we tested if dwMRI can detect such changes during alcohol intoxication. We used high-field dwMRI in four healthy subjects at different blood alcohol concentration (0.0 g/L, 0.3 g/L, 0.6 g/L and 1.0 g/L). Although neuropsychological performances declined markedly, no changes in diffusion parameters emerged. First, this finding argues against alcohol-induced diffuse changes of microstructural state and in favour of more specific, possibly receptor-mediated actions of alcohol on brain function. Second, processes involving neurotransmitters that are primarily linked to cognitive function might not be viewable with high-field diffusion MRI.
"Different cognitive-behavioral abilities are differentially sensitive to ethanol . Frontal lobes play a major role in cognitive function, such as attention, working memory, creative and critical thinking, planning, decision making, inhibitory control, and emotional regulation . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to describe the acute effects of EtOH on brain edema and cerebral metabolites, using diffusion weight imaging (DWI) and proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H-MRS) at a 7.0T MR and to define changes in apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values and the concentration of metabolites in the rat brain after acute EtOH intoxication. ADC values in each ROI decreased significantly at 1 h and 3 h after ethanol administration. ADC values in frontal lobe were decreased significantly compared with other regions at 3 h. For EtOH/Cr+PCr and cerebral metabolites (Cho, Tau, and Glu) differing over time, no significant differences for Ins, NAA, and Cr were observed in frontal lobes. Regression analysis revealed a significant association between TSEtOH/Cr+PCr and TSCho, TSTau, TSGlu, and TSADC. The changes of ADC values in different brain regions reflect the process of the cytotoxic edema in vivo. The characterization of frontal lobes metabolites changes and the correlations between TSEtOH/Cr+PCr and TSCho, TSTau, and TSGlu provide a better understanding for the biological mechanisms in neurotoxic effects of EtOH on the brain. In addition, the correlations between TSEtOH/Cr+PCr and TSADC will help us to understand development of the ethanol-induced brain cytotoxic edema.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alcohol has been shown to affect performance on tasks associated with executive functioning. However, studies in this area have generally been limited to a single dose or gender or have used small sample sizes. The purpose of this study was to provide a more nuanced and systematic examination of alcohol's effects on commonly used tests of executive functioning at multiple dosages in both men and women. Research volunteers (91 women and 94 men) were randomly assigned to one of four drink conditions (alcohol doses associated with target blood alcohol concentrations of .000%, .050%, .075%, and .100%). Participants then completed three tasks comprising two domains of executive functioning: two set shifting tasks, the Trail Making Test and a computerized version of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task, and a response inhibition task, the GoStop Impulsivity Paradigm. Impaired performance on set shifting tasks was found at the .100% and .075% dosages, but alcohol intoxication did not impair performance on the GoStop. No gender effects emerged. Thus, alcohol negatively affects set shifting at moderately high levels of intoxication in both men and women, likely attributable to alcohol's interference with prefrontal cortex function. Although it is well established that alcohol negatively affects response inhibition as measured by auditory stop-signal tasks, alcohol does not appear to exert a negative effect on response inhibition as measured by the GoStop, a visual stop-signal task.
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