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Psychiatry Res. 1988 May;24(2):201-9.

Effects of acute alcohol intoxication on cerebral blood flow measured with PET.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston.


Regional distribution of cerebral blood flow was assessed in a group of 13 normal social drinkers under baseline conditions and after acute alcohol intoxication. Blood flow measurements were done using 15O-labeled water and positron emission tomography (PET). Each subject underwent two control sessions under baseline conditions and two sessions after alcohol. Seven of the subjects were given 0.5 g/kg of alcohol and six were given 1 g/kg of alcohol p.o. The first and second post-alcohol scans were done 40 and 60 min after alcohol ingestion. The studies revealed that both the high and the low doses of alcohol reduced blood flow to the cerebellum. This effect was significant only for the high doses of alcohol, which also increased blood flow to the right temporal and the prefrontal cortex. The decrease in blood flow of the cerebellum could account for the muscular incoordination induced by alcohol.

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