Mildly disturbed hepatic and pancreatic function during early abstention from alcohol is associated with brain atrophy and with disturbed psychometric performance.

Alcohol Alcohol 2004 Mar-Apr;39(2):113-8

Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University of Luebeck, Luebeck, Germany.

Aims: To investigate the relation of liver status and pancreatic function to disorders of the central nervous system during early abstention from alcohol.

Methods: Sixty-seven alcohol-dependent patients (47 male) with a mean age of 42.3 +/- 12.5 years, were assessed by clinical history, abdominal sonography, computerized tomography of the brain and with neuropsychological and serum enzyme tests. Patients with sonographically diagnosed cirrhosis were excluded.

Results: Patients with fatty liver had more previous complicated detoxifications, but not more current signs of brain atrophy or impairment on neuropsychological tests. However, elevations in alpha amylase (AA), and gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) were associated with signs of cerebral atrophy. Higher serum GGT was related to impaired score on a number sequencing task (NST), and high AA with impairment on NST and on two tests of speed and perception. GGT and AA levels tended to be higher in older subjects.

Conclusions: After detoxification from alcohol even mildly disturbed liver and pancreatic parameters, but not fatty liver itself, are associated with signs of brain atrophy and impaired psychometric performance. Age may be a confounding or contributing factor.

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Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/agh028DOI Listing
June 2004

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