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West J Med. 1994 Sep;161(3):279-87.

Neurologic effects of alcoholism.

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  • 1Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, San Francisco General Hospital Medical Center, CA 94110.


Alcoholism, a worldwide disorder, is the cause of a variety of neurologic disorders. In this article we discuss the cellular pathophysiology of ethanol addition and abuse as well as evidence supporting and refuting the role of inheritance in alcoholism. A genetic marker for alcoholism has not been identified, but neurophysiologic studies may be promising. Some neurologic disorders related to longterm alcoholism are due predominantly to inadequate nutrition (the thiamine deficiency that causes Wernicke's encephalopathy), but others appear to involve the neurotoxicity of ethanol on brain (alcohol withdrawal syndrome and dementia) and peripheral nerves (alcoholic neuropathy and myopathy).

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