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Psychiatry Res. 2011 Nov 30;194(2):198-204. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2011.05.003. Epub 2011 Sep 7.

A mathematical formula for prediction of gray and white matter volume recovery in abstinent alcohol dependent individuals.

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  • 1Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.


We propose a mathematical formula that predicts the trajectory of the recovery from lobar gray and white matter volume deficits in individuals with sustained abstinence from alcohol. The formula was validated by using MRI-measured volumetric data from 16 alcohol dependent individuals who had brain scans at three time points during abstinence from alcohol. Using the measured volumetric data of each individual from the first two time points, we estimated the individual's gray and white matter volume of the frontal, parietal and temporal lobes for the third time point using the formula. Similarly, using the measured data for the second and third time points, we estimated the first time point data for each individual. The data predicted from the formula were very similar to the experimentally measured data for all lobes and for both gray and white matter. The intra-class correlation coefficients between the measured data and the data estimated from the formula were >0.95 for almost all the tissues. The formula may also be applicable in other neuroimaging studies of tissue volume changes such as white matter myelination during brain development and white matter demyelination or brain volume loss in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease.

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