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 Researchers identify how bacterium survives in oxygen-poor environments
22.11.2017 | Columbia University

nachricht Researchers discover specific tumor environment that triggers cells to metastasize
22.11.2017 | University of California - San Diego

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

UCLA engineers use deep learning to reconstruct holograms and improve optical microscopy

22.11.2017 | Medical Engineering

Watching atoms move in hybrid perovskite crystals reveals clues to improving solar cells

22.11.2017 | Materials Sciences

New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young

22.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>