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Reduced cerebral grey matter observed in alcoholics using magnetic resonance imaging.


Twenty-eight chronic alcoholics and 36 age- and sex-matched non-alcoholic controls were examined with magnetic resonance imaging and brain morphometric analyses. Results confirmed large increases in subarachnoid cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volume and mild ventricular enlargement in the alcoholics and revealed associated volume reductions of localized cortical and subcortical cerebral structures. Volume losses in the diencephalon, the caudate nucleus, dorsolateral frontal and parietal cortex, and mesial temporal lobe structures were the most prominent. Significant correlations between increments in cortical and ventricular CSF and decrements in the volume of cortical and subcortical grey matter were noted. Although there was little evidence for relationships between performance on neuropsychological tests and volume of grey matter structures, significant correlations between some cognitive measures and subcortical and cortical fluid volumes were found. The parallels between this pattern of affected structures and recent neuropathological findings are discussed.

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