Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging at 3.0 Tesla in alcohol intoxication

University Hospital of Münster, Department of Neurology, Albert-Schweitzer-Str. 33, 48149 Münster, Germany.
Psychiatry Research (Impact Factor: 2.47). 06/2008; 163(1):52-60. DOI: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2007.09.003
Source: PubMed


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.

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    • "Different cognitive-behavioral abilities are differentially sensitive to ethanol [13]. 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 [14]. "
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