Harm to alcohol. Alcohol destroys the brain.

Вред алкоголя. Алкоголь разрушает мозг.

Harm alcohol for the human brain. What are the factors determining the degree of alcohol's influence on the brain? Why is the harm of alcohol manifested more strongly in women than in men? What happens to the size of the brain in people who regularly drink alcohol? The lack of a vitamin causes a regular intake of alcohol and what does it lead to? What is Wernicke's encephalopathy and Korsakov's psychosis? How to treat the syndrome of Wernicke-Korsakov? What is hepatic encephalopathy, due to the influence of what substances it develops, and when it can lead to death? How to treat hepatic encephalopathy? What is fetal alcohol syndrome and how to treat it? Are nerve cells restored? What is neurogenesis? What mystery about organic brain damage with alcohol has not yet been solved by scientists? What modern technologies do scientists use to defeat the harm of alcohol?

Harm to alcohol. Destructive effects on the brain.

Alcohol, of course, has a harmful effect on the brain, which is confirmed by stumbling legs, blurred vision, slowed reaction, confused speech and memory dips - all these effects are observed after drinking alcoholic beverages. However, almost all of these reactions, which appear after the intake of only a few doses of alcoholic beverages, quickly disappear after the intake of alcohol into the body ceases. On the other hand, if you drink alcohol often and in large doses, then its harmful effect on brain cells is noticeable even after the direct effect of alcohol has long been over. Today, the study of the mechanisms of the influence of alcohol on the brain, as well as the likelihood of irreversible changes in brain activity with the regular use of large doses of alcoholic beverages, is a popular topic of scientific research.

Everyone knows that alcohol abuse can have negative and far-reaching health consequences. The harm of alcohol manifests itself, beginning with banal failures in memory and ending with serious illnesses, which can lead to the necessity of lifelong finding on treatment in the clinic. However, as the results of recent scientific studies of the influence of drinking alcohol on behavior behind the wheel have shown, even moderate consumption of alcohol is extremely harmful to the body.

There are several factors that determine the degree of influence of alcohol on brain cells and, accordingly, the harm of alcohol. These factors include:

  • The dose of alcohol and the frequency of consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • the age at which a person began to consume alcoholic beverages, as well as the length of the period during which alcohol was consumed regularly
  • age, education, gender, genetic predisposition to alcoholism, the presence of alcoholics among close relatives
  • prenatal alcohol poisoning, which also increases the risk of future alcoholism
  • general health

This article on the dangers of alcohol reviews several of the most common diseases that result from the harmful effects of alcohol on the brain, and also identifies the circle of people who are most at risk of brain damage as a result of taking alcohol. Also in the article methods of treatment of these diseases, methods of their prevention and modern technologies that are used by scientists to determine how alcohol affects brain cells are considered.

Harm to alcohol. Blurred consciousness and memory dips.

Drinking alcohol can cause memory problems after taking a small amount of alcohol - and the more the amount drunk, the longer and harder will be the dips in the memory. The harm of alcohol is manifested in the fact that a large number of beverages containing alcohol, especially those taken at a fast pace and on an empty stomach, can cause short-term clouding of consciousness. This is the period in which a person who is under the influence of alcohol is unable to properly react to what is happening around him, and sometimes even adequately perceive the speech and actions of others.

Short-term blurred vision after taking alcohol is observed much more often than previously thought in medicine. This effect can be considered a potentially possible consequence of harmful alcohol poisoning, regardless of the age of the patient or the presence of signs of alcoholism as a disease. Scientists have conducted a study to identify the harm of alcohol, associated with a short-term clouding of consciousness. In the course of this study, 772 young people studying at higher education institutions were asked: "Did you ever fail to remember what you did last night or where you were after drinking alcohol?" Of the students who had experience drinking alcohol, 51% answered in the affirmative, saying that they experienced memory failures after drinking, and 40% noted that the memory failures happened to them less than a year ago. Of those who consumed alcohol during the last two weeks, 9.4% noted cases of memory failures during this period. Those who experienced a failure in memory, admitted that after drinking alcohol, they even took part in vandalism, engaged in unprotected sex and drove the car drunk, but in the morning they could not remember anything.

Among older people interviewed, there were also cases of short-term failures in memory, both in men and women, despite the fact that in general, men consume alcohol much more often than women and in much higher doses. Thus, it is logical to assume that the risk of failure in memory and clouding of consciousness after taking alcoholic beverages is higher for women than for men. Therefore, the harm of alcohol is significantly greater for women than for men. Women in a drunken state more often lose consciousness and more often can not remember what they did after taking alcohol - this is due to the difference in the specific mechanism of the absorption of alcohol in the body of a man and a woman. In addition, if you receive the same amount of alcohol dips in memory, a woman is more likely to be significantly heavier than men.

Harm to alcohol. The effect of alcohol on women's brains.

For women, many of the effects of taking alcohol are more severe than for men. Some clinical studies have shown that alcohol harm is much more aggressive towards women than to men because alcoholic women are much faster than alcoholic men, cirrhosis develops, the heart muscle is weakened by alcohol (eg, cardiomyopathy) and damage to the nervous system (eg, peripheral neuropathy). However, studies in which the influence of alcohol on the brain cells were considered do not lead to the conclusion that the female brain is more susceptible to the harmful effects of alcohol than the male.

Using the method of computed tomography, the researchers, through a comparative analysis, managed to establish that the harm of alcohol manifests itself as a contraction (decrease) in the brain. This level of compression is the main indicator of the presence of organic changes in the brain cells, and it is much higher in alcoholics often taking both male and female, compared with those who drink alcohol extremely rarely. Also, studies have shown that men and women with alcoholics have the same problems with remembering information and the ability to learn, which are the result of regular use of high doses of alcohol. However, the men who participated in the experiment regularly consumed large doses of alcoholic beverages twice as long as women. Thus, alcohol damage to the brain, both men and women, was approximately the same, but women regularly consumed alcohol twice as long as men. This fact allows us to conclude that alcohol has a stronger effect on the female brain than on the male brain.

However, other scientific studies have not yielded such revealing results, proving that the harm of alcohol is stronger in relation to women. So, recently in the American Journal of Psychiatry two reports on clinical experiments related to the study of the influence of gender on the degree of susceptibility of the organism to alcohol have been published. The results were directly opposite. Obviously, further research is needed in this area, primarily because female alcoholism is still a poorly understood medical problem, despite the fact that the characteristics of the female body suggest a higher degree of exposure of women to the negative consequences of alcohol abuse.

Harm to alcohol. Lack of vitamin "B1".

For people who regularly take large doses of alcohol for a long period of time, there is a big risk of getting alcohol harm in the form of brain damage associated with damage to the brain cells. Violation of the brain can result from both the actual intake of alcohol itself, and arise under the influence of harmful effects of alcohol abuse, leading to deterioration of the general condition of the body, as well as a serious liver disease on the basis of alcoholism.

The harm of alcohol, for example, in people with alcoholism, often manifests as a lack of a substance called thiamine, also known as vitamin "B1". The reason for the lack of thiamine is an improper diet and a violation of metabolic processes in the body. Thiamine is a very important microelement, which is necessary for the normal functioning of all organs, including the brain. Thiamine is found in products such as meat of animals and birds, grains, nuts and beans. The recommended daily norm of thiamine is 1.2 mg per day for men and 1.1 mg per day for women.

Harm to alcohol. Syndrome Wernicke-Korsakov.

80% of people with alcoholism have a deficiency of thiamine in the body. In some cases, the harm of alcohol is manifested in the fact that the deficiency of thiamine leads to a serious brain disease, known as Wernicke-Korsakov syndrome. This disease includes two stages, or two different syndromes: short-term exacerbations, called Wernicke's encephalopathy, and long periods of a calmer, but significantly depleting body disease course - Korsakov's psychosis.

Symptoms of Wernicke's encephalopathy include confusion, paralysis of the optic nerve (oculomotor imbalance), and coordination problems. So, patients with encephalopathy Wernicke often can not find a way out of the room or even are not able to move independently. However, many patients do not have some symptoms of Wernicke's encephalopathy, so doctors working with patients with alcoholism should know that Wernicke's encephalopathy can occur even if there are only one or two of the symptoms listed above. There have been cases when only after the death of the patient it was found that the cause was encephalopathy caused by a thiamine deficiency that was not diagnosed during life only because the patient did not have a complete set of classic symptoms.

The harm of alcohol is also manifested in the fact that approximately 80-90% of patients with alcoholism and encephalopathy Wernicke develop the so-called psychosis Korsakova - a chronic and quite serious disease, which is characterized, first of all, by memory gaps and difficulties with memorizing new information. Patients with Korsakov's syndrome are forgetful, in constant depression, easily lose their temper, and also have difficulty with walking and coordination of movements. These patients noted difficulties with both the reproduction of already known information (the so-called retrograde amnesia) and with the assimilation of new information (anterograde amnesia), which is the most remarkable symptom of the disease. For example, such patients can discuss in detail with the doctor any event from their life, and in an hour not remember not only about this event, but even about the conversation.

Treatment of Wernicke-Korsakov syndrome

Coordination of movements and, possibly, some forms of assimilation of information are controlled by the cerebellum, which is extremely sensitive to thiamine deficiency, and is also highly susceptible to the harmful effects of alcohol when it is regularly and excessively consumed. Taking drugs containing thiamine helps restore normal brain function, especially in the early stages of the development of Wernicke-Korsakov syndrome. If the harm of alcohol manifested itself particularly strongly and the organic changes in the brain took an irreversible character, treatment presupposes not so much the normalization of the patient's condition as the provision of proper care, and his family support. Approximately 25% of patients with irreversible changes in the functions of the brain and the disorder of cognitive functions need qualified medical care. Some scientists believe that the development of Wernicke-Korsakov syndrome in some patients suffering from alcoholism and thiamine deficiency in the body may be due to a genetic predisposition. Therefore, further scientific research in this field is needed to elucidate the probability of the development of this syndrome from genetic factors.

Harm to alcohol. Hepatic encephalopathy.

Most alcoholics know that excessive alcohol consumption for a long period of time can lead to problems with the liver - the organ in which the splitting of the incoming alcohol into harmful by-products occurs, and then removing them from the body. However, not everyone knows that the harm of alcohol in relation to the brain can manifest itself in a very specific way. It is expressed in the fact that prolonged liver dysfunction, for example, cirrhosis, caused by regular consumption of alcohol in large quantities, can also lead to brain disorders, including a serious brain function disorder known as hepatargia, or hepatic encephalopathy, which itself can be deadly. Those. Alcohol in addition to direct damage to the brain, destroys the liver, which in turn, independently damages the brain.

Thus, the harm of alcohol can manifest as hepatic encephalopathy, which can result in sleep disorders, sudden mood swings, changes in personality characteristics, anxious and depressed state, disorders of cognitive (ie cognitive) functions, for example, inability to concentrate, and also in problems with coordination of movements (for example, asterixis is often observed - an irregular flapping tremor). In the most severe cases, patients may fall into a coma (a hepatic coma), which often ends in a fatal outcome.

New brain scanning technologies allow scientists to analyze the activity of various areas of the brain in patients with liver diseases caused by alcoholism and, thus, to study the development of hepatic encephalopathy. Based on the results of the studies already conducted, at least two toxic substances have been identified that provoke the development of hepatic encephalopathy - ammonia and manganese. The harm of alcohol in this case is applied as follows. Liver cells infected with alcohol produce an excessive amount of these harmful substances, which then enter the brain and destroy the brain cells.

Treatment of hepatic encephalopathy

To prevent the development of hepatic encephalopathy, the following medical procedures are usually used:

  • Administration of drugs that reduce the level of ammonia in the blood, for example, L-ornithine, L-aspartate.
  • Use of various medical technologies, for example, devices that support the functioning of the liver, also known as "artificial liver", which contribute to the purification of the patient's blood from toxic substances. Studies have shown that when using devices of this type, the concentration of ammonia in the blood of patients is significantly reduced, which allows to partially reduce encephalopathic effects.
  • Liver transplantation is widely used to treat patients with severe (terminal) cirrhosis of the liver. According to medical statistics, liver transplantation using the latest medical technologies leads to a significant improvement in cognitive functions in patients, up to their complete recovery, as well as to a decrease in the concentration of manganese and ammonia in the blood to normal levels.

Harm to alcohol. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to negative consequences for the developing fetal brain, which will later be expressed in the physiological, cognitive and behavioral aspects of the individual. The harm of alcohol is manifested in the fact that in the most severe cases a complex of symptoms develops, known as fetal (fetal) alcohol syndrome. Children with fetal alcohol syndrome often have malformations of external organs, and usually grow slower and develop more slowly than healthy children. The volume of their brain may be less than the norm (microencephaly), while these children also have fewer brain cells (including neurons) than others. Neuronal brain cells in children with fetal alcohol syndrome are not able to function normally, which leads to cognitive impairment and various behavioral abnormalities.

Treatment of fetal alcohol syndrome

В настоящее время исследователи занимаются разработкой эффективного комплексного метода лечения, который бы помог людям преодолевать вред алкоголя, выраженный как последствия фетального алкогольного синдрома. Разрабатываемый метод лечения включает как упражнения на развитие моторики, так и медикаментозное лечение. В рамках одного из экспериментов доктор Клинцова и её коллеги использовали учебный курс по развитию моторики, организованный в виде "полосы препятствий", который позволил пациентам преодолеть негативные последствия воздействия алкоголя на их мозг в течение фетального периода. Что интересно, проведённый тренинг по развитию моторики способствовал восстановлению функций различных частей головного мозга (в том числе мозжечка) и у взрослых людей. Данный эксперимент имеет важнейшее научное значение, так как его результаты свидетельствуют о том, что комплексное реабилитационное лечение, направленное на развитие навыков моторики, может привести к положительным результатам не только у детей, но и у взрослых с фетальным алкогольным синдромом.

Также учёные активно работают над изобретением медицинских препаратов, способных замедлить или предотвратить вред алкоголя, выраженный в разрушении мозговых клеток, в том числе и по вине фетального алкогольного синдрома. Клинические эксперименты на животных показали эффективность антиоксидантной терапии и витамина "Е". Также хорошие результаты дает использование 1-октанола, который, как ни парадоксально, сам по себе является спиртосодержащим веществом. Как показали опыты, проведённые на эмбрионах мышей, медикаментозное лечение с применением 1-октанола позволило существенно снизить степень вредного влияния алкоголя на зародыши. Кроме того, было открыто два вещества, отвечающие за нормальное развитие плода, которые способны защищать нервные клетки от вредного воздействия алкоголя, при этом механизм их действия схож с действием октанола. Эти вещества получили название NAP и SAL. В настоящее время также исследуется компонент MK–801, который способен блокировать действие некоторых химических соединений, образующихся в результате приёма алкоголя (к примеру, глютамата) на головной мозг. Применение МК-801 при лечении последствий раннего постнатального (послеродового) алкогольного синдрома даёт хорошие результаты.

Несмотря на то, что данные компоненты показали эффективность борьбы с вредом алкоголя при проведении опытов только на животных, их положительный эффект при лечении людей ещё не доказан. Оптимальный способ профилактики фетального алкогольного синдрома – это полный отказ от употребления спиртных напитков во время беременности. Врачи, наблюдающие будущих мам, регулярно напоминают своим беременным пациенткам, что этот синдром можно и нужно предотвратить, и это зависит только от самой матери.

Вред алкоголя преодолим! Образование новых клеток мозга.

На протяжении многих десятилетий учёные считали, что количество нервных клеток в мозге взрослого человека фиксируется в первые дни жизни и остаётся неизменным на всем её протяжении. Таким образом, если имеет место разрушение клеток мозга, то единственный способ лечения – это укрепление оставшихся клеток, так как новые добавить невозможно. Однако в 1960-х годах исследователи выяснили, что формирование новых нейронов мозга происходит и в зрелом возрасте – этот процесс получил название нейрогенеза. Новые клетки мозга образуются из стволовых клеток – эти клетки могут делиться случайным образом, обновляться и становиться исходным материалом для клеток различных типов. Открытие стволовых клеток мозга и нейрогенеза у взрослых позволило разработать новый научный подход к лечению органических повреждений мозга, вызванных воздействием алкоголя, а также повысить эффективность лечения алкоголизма в целом.

Так, эксперименты, проведённые на животных, показали, что высокие дозы алкоголя наносят существенный вред и приводят к нарушению процесса образования новых клеток мозга. Учёные считают, что именно расстройство нейрогенеза становится причиной нарушения функционирования различных областей головного мозга (например, гипотоламуса) в будущем. Необходимо комплексное изучение процесса взаимодействия алкоголя со стволовыми клетками мозга, а также исследование мозговых клеток пациентов, страдающих алкоголизмом – всё это может стать первым шагом в разработке нового метода лечения алкоголизма и его последствий путём клеточной терапии.


Все пациенты, страдающие алкоголизмом, значительно отличаются друг от друга. Болезнь проявляется у всех по-разному, а также имеет различное происхождение. Именно поэтому в настоящий момент исследователям не удалось выявить общую причину нарушения деятельности мозга у больных алкоголизмом. До сих пор остаётся загадкой, почему такой вред алкоголя как органическое поражение мозга у всех проявляется по-разному. А именно не совсем ясно, почему у некоторых алкоголиков отмечены серьёзные органические повреждения головного мозга, в то время как у других пациентов при прочих равных условиях подобных повреждений не наблюдается – сегодня эта проблема является достаточно актуальной для научных исследований.

Хорошие новости – это то, что у большинства пациентов, страдающих алкоголизмом и связанными с ним расстройствами когнитивных функцией, отмечены положительные изменения в структуре головного мозга и общем функционировании организма в течение года после полного отказа от потребления спиртного, хотя некоторым пациентам требуется гораздо больше времени на восстановление. Лечащие врачи могут опробовать широкий спектр методов лечения для того, чтобы помочь пациенту отказаться от алкоголя и излечиться от негативных последствий злоупотребления спиртным, тем самым полностью устранив вред алкоголя, наносимый пациенту. Разумеется, комплекс методов лечения составляется с учётом индивидуальных особенностей пациента.

Важную роль в развитии лечения алкоголизма играет использование современных технологий. Лечащие врачи могут использовать технологии компьютерного сканирования мозга для того, чтобы отслеживать положительные изменения в ходе лечения и, соответственно, получать представление об эффективности выбранного курса. Компьютерное сканирование может показать структурные, функциональные и биохимические изменения в организме пациента, а также их прогресс с течением времени, что, соответственно, покажет как уменьшается вред алкоголя. Также в настоящее время ведётся активная разработка перспективных новых медикаментов, которые будут способствовать предотвращению вредного влияния алкоголя на организм и образованию новых клеток мозга взамен тех, которые были разрушены под влиянием алкоголя.

Источник материала для статьи: "Аlcohol's damaging effects on the brain" .