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Long-term alcohol dependence affects cognitive abilities




Alcohol dependence carries with it a host of negative consequences, both physically and socially. New research sets out to measure the specific cognitive deficits attributed to a life of alcohol use.

Further evidence of the detrimental effects of alcohol is uncovered in new research. A team of researchers set out to take a fresh look at the issue; they designed a study to quantify any neurocognitive deficits present in a group of participants with a significant duration of alcohol dependence. They took recruits from the Brown University Center for AIDS Research.

The results, published in the journal Research Society on Alcoholism, clearly demonstrate that current heavy drinking in older adults shows a significant dip across the majority of test types; the factors impacted in the older dependents included poorer cognitive functions, memory, learning, verbal and motor function, and speed of processing.

Additionally, the researchers found that a lifetime history of alcohol dependence negatively affected the same neurocognitive domains.

The authors conclude that, although current drinking is associated with measurable cognitive impairment, a lifetime history of alcohol dependence is associated with lasting negative consequences for neurocognitive functioning.

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