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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(4), 1540-1557;

Ethanol and Cognition: Indirect Effects, Neurotoxicity and Neuroprotection: A Review

Department of Neurology, Harlem Hospital Center and Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York, NY 10037, USA
Received: 8 February 2010 / Accepted: 1 April 2010 / Published: 4 April 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Public Health)
Full-Text   |   PDF [315 KB, uploaded 19 June 2014]


Ethanol affects cognition in a number of ways. Indirect effects include intoxication, withdrawal, brain trauma, central nervous system infection, hypoglycemia, hepatic failure, and Marchiafava-Bignami disease. Nutritional deficiency can cause pellagra and Wernicke-Korsakoff disorder. Additionally, ethanol is a direct neurotoxin and in sufficient dosage can cause lasting dementia. However, ethanol also has neuroprotectant properties and in low-to-moderate dosage reduces the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer type. In fetuses ethanol is teratogenic, and whether there exists a safe dose during pregnancy is uncertain and controversial. View Full-Text
Keywords: Wernicke-Korsakoff; alcoholic dementia; glutamate Wernicke-Korsakoff; alcoholic dementia; glutamate
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Brust, J.C. Ethanol and Cognition: Indirect Effects, Neurotoxicity and Neuroprotection: A Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7, 1540-1557.

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