J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2000 Jun;4(1):39-49.

Alcohol and Aging:Neurobiological Effects

  • 1Department of Neuropsychiatry, Kosin University, School of Medicine, Pusan, Korea. cheonjs@ns.kosinmed.or.kr


The alcohol problems in geriatric population have been strikingly increasing. The age differences of alcohol effect on the brain have been reported by several animal studies. Furthermore, cognitive disorders including dementia have been accompanied in many alcoholic patients, and evidences of alcohol-related brain damage have been identified by the clinical or histopathological studies. Therefore, alcohol seemed to accelerate aging by changing various age-related neurochemical or physiological processes, and produce alcohol-related direct neurotoxicity to result in cognitive disorders including dementia. To understand a mechanism of alcohol-related brain damage, alcohol-related brain structural changes and alcohol-related changes in neurotransmitter systems were reviewed at first, and then update molecular biologic theories including free radical reactions, excitotoxicity, nitric oxide, white matter damage, neurotrophin, liver-brain interaction and cholinergic deafferentation were also introduced.


Alcohol; Cognitive disorders; Aging; Free radical reactions; Excitotoxicity; Cholinergic deafferentation
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