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Cognitive Loss and Recovery in Long-term Alcohol Abusers

Cognitive Loss and Recovery in Long-term Alcohol Abusers Abstract • The nature of the memory and visuospatial defects associated with chronic alcoholism, and the recovery of these functions, were investigated in a large group of alcoholic men and well-matched nonalcoholic controls. Both young and old alcoholics displayed significant impairments on tasks requiring the learning of novel associations and the holding of information in memory over longer delay intervals. The recovery of cognitive skills was found to depend on the length of abstinence and the particular behavioral functions examined. Whereas psychomotor skills and short-term memory improved significantly with prolonged abstinence, long-term memory was impaired even after seven years of continuous sobriety. We propose that recovery of short-term memory reflects reestablishment of cortical functioning, while the persistent long-term memory defect indicates more permanent damage to diencephalic structures. References 1. Butters N, Cermak LS: Alcoholic Korsakoffs Syndrome: An Information-Processing Approach to Amnesia . New York, Academic Press Inc, 1980. 2. Talland GA: Deranged Memory . New York, Academic Press Inc, 1965. 3. Victor M, Adams RD, Collins GH: The Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome . Philadelphia, FA Davis Co, 1971. 4. Ryback RS: The continuum and specificity of the effects of alcohol use on memory: A review . Q J Stud Alcohol 1971;32:995-1016. 5. Jonsson C-O, Cronholm B, Izikowitz S: Intellectual changes in alcoholics: Psychometric studies on mental sequels of prolonged intensive abuse of alcohol . Q J Stud Alcohol 1962;23:221-242. 6. Weingartner H, Faillace LA, Markley HG: Verbal information retention in alcoholics . Q J Stud Alcohol 1971;32:293-303. 7. Parsons OA, Prigatano GP: Memory functioning in alcoholics , in Birnbaum IM, Parker ES (eds): Alcohol and Human Memory . Hillsdale, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc, 1977. 8. Butters N, Cermak LS, Montgomery K, et al: Some comparisons of the memory and visuoperceptive deficits of chronic alcoholics and patients with Korsakoffs disease . Alcoholism 1977;1:73-80.Crossref 9. Ryan C, Butters N, Montgomery K, et al: Memory deficits in chronic alcoholics: Continuities between the "intact" alcoholic and the alcoholic Korsakoff patients , in Begleiter H (ed): Biological Effects of Alcohol . New York, Plenum Publishing Co, 1980. 10. Glosser G, Butters N, Kaplan E: Visuoperceptual processes in braindamaged patients on the digit-symbol substitution test . Int J Neurosc 1977;7:59-66.Crossref 11. Kapur N, Butters N: An analysis of visuo-perceptive deficits in alcoholic Korsakoff's and long-term alcoholics . J Stud Alcohol 1977; 38:2025-2035. 12. Ryan C, Butters N: Further evidence for a continuum-of-impairment encompassing male alcoholic Korsakoff patients and chronic alcoholics . Alcoholism 1980;4:190-198.Crossref 13. Ryan C, Butters N: Learning and memory impairments in young and old alcoholics: Evidence for the premature-aging hypothesis . Alcoholism 1980;4:288-293.Crossref 14. Parker ES, Noble EP: Alcohol consumption and cognitive functioning in social drinkers . J Stud Alcohol 1977;38:1224-1232. 15. Parker ES, Noble EP: Alcohol and the aging process in social drinkers . J Stud Alcohol 1980;41:170-178. 16. McVane J, Butters N, Montgomery K, et al: Further examination of cognitive functioning in male social drinkers: A replication and some cautionary considerations . J Stud Alcohol 1982;43:81-95. 17. Miller E: Abnormal Aging: The Psychology of Senile and Presenile Dementia . New York, John Wiley & Sons Inc, 1977. 18. Albert MS, Kaplan E: Organic implication of neuropsychological deficits in the elderly , in Poon LW, Fozard JL, Cermak LS, et al (eds): New Directions in Memory and Aging . Hillsdale, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc, 1980. 19. Blusewicz MJ, Dustman RE, Schenkenberg T, et al: Neuropsychological correlates of chronic alcoholism and aging . J Nerv Ment Dis 1977; 165:348-355.Crossref 20. Fitzhugh LC, Fitzhugh KB, Reitan RM: Adaptive abilities and intellectual functioning of hospitalized alcoholics: Further considerations . Q J Stud Alcohol 1965;26:402-411. 21. Jones BM, Parsons OA: Impaired abstracting ability in chronic alcoholics . Arch Gen Psychiatry 1971;24:71-75.Crossref 22. Klisz D, Parsons OA: Hypothesis testing in younger and older alcoholics . J Stud Alcohol 1977;38:1718-1729. 23. Grant I, Adams K, Reed R: Normal neuropsychological abilities of alcoholic men in their late 30s . Am J Psychiatry 1979;136:1263-1269. 24. Kleinknecht RA, Goldstein SG: Neuropsychological deficits associated with alcoholism . Q J Stud Alcohol 1972;33:999-1019. 25. Long JA, McLachlan FC: Abstract reasoning and perceptual-motor efficiency in alcoholics . Q J Stud Alcohol 1974;35:1220-1229. 26. Ellenberg L, Rosenbaum G, Goldman MS, et al: Recoverability of psychological functioning following alcohol abuse: Lateralization effects . J Consult Clin Psychol 1980;48:503-510.Crossref 27. Guthrie A: The first year after treatment: Factors affecting time course of reversibility of memory and learning deficits in alcoholism , in Begleiter H (ed): Biological Effects of Alcohol . New York, Plenum Publishing Co, 1980. 28. Jenkins RL, Parsons OA: Recovery of cognitive abilities in male alcoholics , in Galanter M (ed): Currents in Alcoholism . New York, Grune & Stratton Inc, 1980, vol 7, pp 229-237. 29. Page RD, Linden JD: 'Reversible' organic brain syndrome in alcoholics . Q J Stud Alcohol 1974;35:98-107. 30. Ryan C, DiDario B, Butters N, et al: The relationship between abstinence and recovery of function in male alcoholics . J Clin Neuropsychol 1980;2:125-134.Crossref 31. Peterson LR, Peterson MJ: Short-term retention of individual verbal items . J Exp Psychol 1959;58:193-198.Crossref 32. Benton AL: A multiple choice type of visual retention test . Arch Neurol Psychiatry 1950;64:699-707.Crossref 33. Porjesz B, Begleiter H: Evoked brain potential deficits in alcoholism and aging . Alcoholism: Clin Experimental Res 1982;6:53-63.Crossref 34. Riege WH, Holloway JA, Kaplan DW: Specific memory deficits associated with prolonged alcohol abuse . Alcoholism: Clin Experimental Res 1981;5:378-385.Crossref 35. Berglund M, Leijonquist H, Horlen M: Prognostic significance and reversibility of cerebral dysfunction in alcoholics . J Stud Alcohol 1977;38:1761-1770. 36. Waugh NC, Norman DA: Primary memory . Psychol Rev 1965; 72:89-104.Crossref 37. Atkinson RC, Shiffrin RM: Human memory: A proposed system and its control processes , in Spence KW (ed): The Psychology of Learning and Motivation: Advances in Research and Theory . New York, Academic Press Inc, 1968. 38. Scoville WB, Milner B: Loss of recent memory after bilateral hippocampal lesions . J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1957;20:11-21.Crossref 39. Milner B: Psychological defects produced by temporal-lobe excision . Res Publ Assoc Res Nerv Ment Dis 1958;36:244-257. 40. Milner B: Memory and the medial temporal regions of the brain , in Pribram KH, Broadbent DE (eds): Biology of Memory . New York, Academic Press Inc, 1970. 41. Warrington EK, Shallice R: The selective impairment of auditoryverbal short-term memory . Brain 1969;92:885-896.Crossref 42. Shallice T, Warrington EK: Independent functioning of the verbal memory stores: A neuropsychological study . Q J Exp Psychol 1970; 22:261-273.Crossref 43. Butters N, Samuels I, Goodglass H, et al: Short-term visual and auditory memory disorders after parietal and frontal lobe damage . Cortex 1970;6:440-459.Crossref 44. Samuels I, Butters N, Goodglass H, et al: A comparison of subcortical and cortical damage on short-term visual and auditory memory . Neuropsychologia 1971;9:293-306.Crossref 45. Cala LA, Jones B, Mastaglia FL, et al: Brain atrophy and intellectual impairment in heavy drinkers: A clinical, psychometric and computerized tomography study . Aust NZ J Med 1978;8:147-153.Crossref 46. Lee K, Miller L, Hardt F, et al: Alcohol-induced brain damage and liver damage in young males . Lancet 1979;2:759-761.Crossref 47. Kroll P, Seigel R, O'Neill B, et al: Cerebral cortical atrophy in alcoholic men . J Clin Psychiatry 1980;41:417-421. 48. Carlsson C, Claesson L-E, Karlson K-T, et al: Clinical psychometric and radiological signs of brain damage in chronic alcoholism . Acta Neurol Scand 1979;60:85-92.Crossref 49. Gebhardt C: Computer Analyses of CT Scans of Chronic Alcoholics: The Relation of Third Ventricular Region to Memory and Frontal/Parietal Regions to Perception, thesis. Boston University, Boston, 1981. 50. Carlen PL, Wortzman G, Holgate TC, et al: Reversible cerebral atrophy in recently abstinent chronic alcoholics measured by computed tomography scans . Science 1978;200:1076-1078.Crossref 51. Tamerin JA, Weiner S, Poppen R, et al: Alcohol and memory: Amnesic and short-term memory function during experimentally induced intoxication . Am J Psychiatry 1971;127:1659-1664. 52. Weingartner H, Faillace LA: Alcohol state-dependent learning in man . J Nerv Ment Dis 1971;153:395-406.Crossref 53. Parker ES, Alkana RL, Birnbaum IM, et al: Alcohol and the disruption of cognitive processes . Arch Gen Psychiatry 1974;31:824-828.Crossref 54. Rosen LJ, Lee CL: Acute and chronic effects of alcohol use on organizational processes in memory . J Abnorm Psychol 1976;85:309-317.Crossref 55. Burdick JA, Johnson LC, Smith JW: Measurements of change during alcohol withdrawal in chronic alcoholics . Br J Addict 1970;65:273-280.Crossref 56. Tarter RE, Parsons OA: Conceptual shifting in chronic alcoholics . J Abnorm Psychol 1971;77:71-75.Crossref 57. Binder LM, Schreiber V: Visual imagery and verbal mediation as memory aids in recovering alcoholics . J Clin Neuropsychol 1980;2:71-74.Crossref http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archives of General Psychiatry American Medical Association

Cognitive Loss and Recovery in Long-term Alcohol Abusers

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Publisher
American Medical Association
Copyright
Copyright © 1983 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved.
ISSN
0003-990X
eISSN
1598-3636
DOI
10.1001/archpsyc.1983.01790040089012
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Abstract

Abstract • The nature of the memory and visuospatial defects associated with chronic alcoholism, and the recovery of these functions, were investigated in a large group of alcoholic men and well-matched nonalcoholic controls. Both young and old alcoholics displayed significant impairments on tasks requiring the learning of novel associations and the holding of information in memory over longer delay intervals. The recovery of cognitive skills was found to depend on the length of abstinence and the particular behavioral functions examined. Whereas psychomotor skills and short-term memory improved significantly with prolonged abstinence, long-term memory was impaired even after seven years of continuous sobriety. We propose that recovery of short-term memory reflects reestablishment of cortical functioning, while the persistent long-term memory defect indicates more permanent damage to diencephalic structures. References 1. Butters N, Cermak LS: Alcoholic Korsakoffs Syndrome: An Information-Processing Approach to Amnesia . New York, Academic Press Inc, 1980. 2. Talland GA: Deranged Memory . New York, Academic Press Inc, 1965. 3. Victor M, Adams RD, Collins GH: The Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome . Philadelphia, FA Davis Co, 1971. 4. Ryback RS: The continuum and specificity of the effects of alcohol use on memory: A review . Q J Stud Alcohol 1971;32:995-1016. 5. Jonsson C-O, Cronholm B, Izikowitz S: Intellectual changes in alcoholics: Psychometric studies on mental sequels of prolonged intensive abuse of alcohol . Q J Stud Alcohol 1962;23:221-242. 6. Weingartner H, Faillace LA, Markley HG: Verbal information retention in alcoholics . Q J Stud Alcohol 1971;32:293-303. 7. Parsons OA, Prigatano GP: Memory functioning in alcoholics , in Birnbaum IM, Parker ES (eds): Alcohol and Human Memory . Hillsdale, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc, 1977. 8. Butters N, Cermak LS, Montgomery K, et al: Some comparisons of the memory and visuoperceptive deficits of chronic alcoholics and patients with Korsakoffs disease . Alcoholism 1977;1:73-80.Crossref 9. Ryan C, Butters N, Montgomery K, et al: Memory deficits in chronic alcoholics: Continuities between the "intact" alcoholic and the alcoholic Korsakoff patients , in Begleiter H (ed): Biological Effects of Alcohol . New York, Plenum Publishing Co, 1980. 10. Glosser G, Butters N, Kaplan E: Visuoperceptual processes in braindamaged patients on the digit-symbol substitution test . Int J Neurosc 1977;7:59-66.Crossref 11. Kapur N, Butters N: An analysis of visuo-perceptive deficits in alcoholic Korsakoff's and long-term alcoholics . J Stud Alcohol 1977; 38:2025-2035. 12. Ryan C, Butters N: Further evidence for a continuum-of-impairment encompassing male alcoholic Korsakoff patients and chronic alcoholics . Alcoholism 1980;4:190-198.Crossref 13. Ryan C, Butters N: Learning and memory impairments in young and old alcoholics: Evidence for the premature-aging hypothesis . Alcoholism 1980;4:288-293.Crossref 14. Parker ES, Noble EP: Alcohol consumption and cognitive functioning in social drinkers . J Stud Alcohol 1977;38:1224-1232. 15. Parker ES, Noble EP: Alcohol and the aging process in social drinkers . J Stud Alcohol 1980;41:170-178. 16. McVane J, Butters N, Montgomery K, et al: Further examination of cognitive functioning in male social drinkers: A replication and some cautionary considerations . J Stud Alcohol 1982;43:81-95. 17. Miller E: Abnormal Aging: The Psychology of Senile and Presenile Dementia . New York, John Wiley & Sons Inc, 1977. 18. Albert MS, Kaplan E: Organic implication of neuropsychological deficits in the elderly , in Poon LW, Fozard JL, Cermak LS, et al (eds): New Directions in Memory and Aging . Hillsdale, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc, 1980. 19. Blusewicz MJ, Dustman RE, Schenkenberg T, et al: Neuropsychological correlates of chronic alcoholism and aging . J Nerv Ment Dis 1977; 165:348-355.Crossref 20. Fitzhugh LC, Fitzhugh KB, Reitan RM: Adaptive abilities and intellectual functioning of hospitalized alcoholics: Further considerations . Q J Stud Alcohol 1965;26:402-411. 21. Jones BM, Parsons OA: Impaired abstracting ability in chronic alcoholics . Arch Gen Psychiatry 1971;24:71-75.Crossref 22. Klisz D, Parsons OA: Hypothesis testing in younger and older alcoholics . J Stud Alcohol 1977;38:1718-1729. 23. Grant I, Adams K, Reed R: Normal neuropsychological abilities of alcoholic men in their late 30s . Am J Psychiatry 1979;136:1263-1269. 24. Kleinknecht RA, Goldstein SG: Neuropsychological deficits associated with alcoholism . Q J Stud Alcohol 1972;33:999-1019. 25. Long JA, McLachlan FC: Abstract reasoning and perceptual-motor efficiency in alcoholics . Q J Stud Alcohol 1974;35:1220-1229. 26. Ellenberg L, Rosenbaum G, Goldman MS, et al: Recoverability of psychological functioning following alcohol abuse: Lateralization effects . J Consult Clin Psychol 1980;48:503-510.Crossref 27. Guthrie A: The first year after treatment: Factors affecting time course of reversibility of memory and learning deficits in alcoholism , in Begleiter H (ed): Biological Effects of Alcohol . New York, Plenum Publishing Co, 1980. 28. Jenkins RL, Parsons OA: Recovery of cognitive abilities in male alcoholics , in Galanter M (ed): Currents in Alcoholism . New York, Grune & Stratton Inc, 1980, vol 7, pp 229-237. 29. Page RD, Linden JD: 'Reversible' organic brain syndrome in alcoholics . Q J Stud Alcohol 1974;35:98-107. 30. Ryan C, DiDario B, Butters N, et al: The relationship between abstinence and recovery of function in male alcoholics . J Clin Neuropsychol 1980;2:125-134.Crossref 31. Peterson LR, Peterson MJ: Short-term retention of individual verbal items . J Exp Psychol 1959;58:193-198.Crossref 32. Benton AL: A multiple choice type of visual retention test . Arch Neurol Psychiatry 1950;64:699-707.Crossref 33. Porjesz B, Begleiter H: Evoked brain potential deficits in alcoholism and aging . Alcoholism: Clin Experimental Res 1982;6:53-63.Crossref 34. Riege WH, Holloway JA, Kaplan DW: Specific memory deficits associated with prolonged alcohol abuse . Alcoholism: Clin Experimental Res 1981;5:378-385.Crossref 35. Berglund M, Leijonquist H, Horlen M: Prognostic significance and reversibility of cerebral dysfunction in alcoholics . J Stud Alcohol 1977;38:1761-1770. 36. Waugh NC, Norman DA: Primary memory . Psychol Rev 1965; 72:89-104.Crossref 37. Atkinson RC, Shiffrin RM: Human memory: A proposed system and its control processes , in Spence KW (ed): The Psychology of Learning and Motivation: Advances in Research and Theory . New York, Academic Press Inc, 1968. 38. Scoville WB, Milner B: Loss of recent memory after bilateral hippocampal lesions . J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1957;20:11-21.Crossref 39. Milner B: Psychological defects produced by temporal-lobe excision . Res Publ Assoc Res Nerv Ment Dis 1958;36:244-257. 40. Milner B: Memory and the medial temporal regions of the brain , in Pribram KH, Broadbent DE (eds): Biology of Memory . New York, Academic Press Inc, 1970. 41. Warrington EK, Shallice R: The selective impairment of auditoryverbal short-term memory . Brain 1969;92:885-896.Crossref 42. Shallice T, Warrington EK: Independent functioning of the verbal memory stores: A neuropsychological study . Q J Exp Psychol 1970; 22:261-273.Crossref 43. Butters N, Samuels I, Goodglass H, et al: Short-term visual and auditory memory disorders after parietal and frontal lobe damage . Cortex 1970;6:440-459.Crossref 44. Samuels I, Butters N, Goodglass H, et al: A comparison of subcortical and cortical damage on short-term visual and auditory memory . Neuropsychologia 1971;9:293-306.Crossref 45. Cala LA, Jones B, Mastaglia FL, et al: Brain atrophy and intellectual impairment in heavy drinkers: A clinical, psychometric and computerized tomography study . Aust NZ J Med 1978;8:147-153.Crossref 46. Lee K, Miller L, Hardt F, et al: Alcohol-induced brain damage and liver damage in young males . Lancet 1979;2:759-761.Crossref 47. Kroll P, Seigel R, O'Neill B, et al: Cerebral cortical atrophy in alcoholic men . J Clin Psychiatry 1980;41:417-421. 48. Carlsson C, Claesson L-E, Karlson K-T, et al: Clinical psychometric and radiological signs of brain damage in chronic alcoholism . Acta Neurol Scand 1979;60:85-92.Crossref 49. Gebhardt C: Computer Analyses of CT Scans of Chronic Alcoholics: The Relation of Third Ventricular Region to Memory and Frontal/Parietal Regions to Perception, thesis. Boston University, Boston, 1981. 50. Carlen PL, Wortzman G, Holgate TC, et al: Reversible cerebral atrophy in recently abstinent chronic alcoholics measured by computed tomography scans . Science 1978;200:1076-1078.Crossref 51. Tamerin JA, Weiner S, Poppen R, et al: Alcohol and memory: Amnesic and short-term memory function during experimentally induced intoxication . Am J Psychiatry 1971;127:1659-1664. 52. Weingartner H, Faillace LA: Alcohol state-dependent learning in man . J Nerv Ment Dis 1971;153:395-406.Crossref 53. Parker ES, Alkana RL, Birnbaum IM, et al: Alcohol and the disruption of cognitive processes . Arch Gen Psychiatry 1974;31:824-828.Crossref 54. Rosen LJ, Lee CL: Acute and chronic effects of alcohol use on organizational processes in memory . J Abnorm Psychol 1976;85:309-317.Crossref 55. Burdick JA, Johnson LC, Smith JW: Measurements of change during alcohol withdrawal in chronic alcoholics . Br J Addict 1970;65:273-280.Crossref 56. Tarter RE, Parsons OA: Conceptual shifting in chronic alcoholics . J Abnorm Psychol 1971;77:71-75.Crossref 57. Binder LM, Schreiber V: Visual imagery and verbal mediation as memory aids in recovering alcoholics . J Clin Neuropsychol 1980;2:71-74.Crossref

Journal

Archives of General PsychiatryAmerican Medical Association

Published: Apr 1, 1983

References