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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1999 Jan;23(1):158-63.

Localized proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the cerebellum in detoxifying alcoholics.

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Department of Neuroradiology, University of Tübingen, Germany.


An increased daily alcohol consumption results in neurological symptoms and morphological central nervous system changes, e.g. shrinkage of the frontal lobes and the cerebellar vermis. Brain shrinkage can be due to neuronal loss, gliosis, or alterations of (cell) membrane constitutes/myelin. Neuronal, glial, and metabolic changes can be measured in vivo with proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. A total of 11 alcoholics and 10 age-matched volunteers were examined by magnetic resonance imaging and localized magnetic resonance spectroscopy at an echo time of 135 and 5 msec. Peak integral values were calculated for N-acetylaspartate (NAA), choline (Cho), myo-inositol (ml), glutamate/glutamine (Glx), and normalized to phosphocreatine/creatine (Cr). Patients had a significant shrinkage of the cerebellar vermis. NAA/Cr and Cho/Cr ratios were reduced in both sequences, but the NAA/Cr reduction was only significant in long echo time, although the Cho/Cr reduction was significant in short echo time. The ml/Cr and Glx/Cr ratios did not show any significant difference between volunteers and patients. The decrease of NAA/Cr in alcohol dependent patients is consistent with neuronal loss. The Cho/Cr decrease and an unchanged ml/Cr may reflect cell membrane modification or myelin alterations in alcohol-dependent patients. These changes lead to brain shrinkage, although hydration effects and gliosis are less likely.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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