Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Drinking for just eight weeks impairs learning and memory in mice

15.06.2005


  • Previous human and animal studies have shown that chronic alcohol consumption can produce deficits in learning and memory.
  • A new rodent study is the first to show that continuous drinking for as little as eight weeks can produce deficits in learning and memory that last up to 12 weeks after drinking stopped.

Both human and animal studies have shown that chronic alcohol consumption can produce deficits in learning and memory. Rodent studies, for example, have shown that chronic alcohol consumption for six months or more can produce permanent deficits and neural damage. A rodent study in the June issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research is the first to show that continuous drinking for as little as eight weeks can produce deficits in learning and memory that last up to 12 weeks after drinking stopped.

"The learning and memory deficits we found in our mice that received eight weeks of alcohol followed by three weeks of withdrawal affect all types of learning and memory," said Susan A. Farr, associate professor of medicine at St. Louis University School of Medicine and corresponding author for the study. "That is, they are global. We found deficits in every type of task we tested the mice in, from complex to simple tasks. Our study is the first to show that drinking for a duration as short as eight weeks produces lasting deficits up to at least 12 weeks after the cessation of alcohol."

"Drinking doesn’t just produce a hangover," said D. Allan Butterfield, The Alumni Professor of biological and physical chemistry at the University of Kentucky. "Chronic drinking may lead to permanent cognitive deficits." Butterfield, also director of the Center of Membrane Studies, said these findings are especially troubling for college students who may engage in binge drinking. "People should exercise caution against binge drinking since cognitive deficits may ensue," he said.



Researchers fed eight-week-old male mice, of two different strains, either an alcohol or sucrose diet for eight weeks, followed by a three-week withdrawal period. Learning and long-term memory tests included T-maze footshock avoidance, Greek Cross brightness discrimination, step-down passive avoidance, and shuttlebox active avoidance. "The tasks we used cover many forms of learning," said Farr, "including different motivational factors as well as difficulty levels."

Farr said there were three main findings. "One, that consumption durations as short as eight weeks produce deficits twelve weeks after withdrawal. This is a much shorter duration than previously reported to produce such deficits. The implications are that the deficits are permanent. Two, that the deficits appear to be global, affecting all types of learning. Three, that the deficits are not related to any nutritional or sensory deficits produced by the alcohol. This indicates that the alcohol produced neurochemical changes in the brain important for learning and memory."

"This study demonstrates that the lingering effects of chronic alcohol ingestion are profound," said Butterfield. "Although I am not a behaviorist, my sense of the study suggests that these results, transferable to humans, imply profound deficits in cognition, memory, and learning that are long-lasting."

Farr concurred. "For the average reader," she said, "while one must be cautious going straight from mouse to human, this would be equivalent to a human that drank six to eight beers or one bottle of wine a day every day for six years could experience learning and memory deficits up to nine years after they stopped drinking alcohol."

Farr said that she and Butterfield plan to continue with their investigation of the neurochemical changes in the brain that are producing these deficits.

Susan A. Farr, Ph.D. | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.alcoholism-cer.com

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht One step closer to reality
20.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie

nachricht The dark side of cichlid fish: from cannibal to caregiver
20.04.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>