Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Are we drinking our neurones away?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987; 294 doi: (Published 28 February 1987) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987;294:534
  1. C Harper,
  2. J Kril,
  3. J Daly


    A quantitative neuropathological necropsy study of the human cerebral cortex showed that the number of cortical neurones in the superior frontal cortex in chronic alcoholic patients is significantly reduced compared with that in controls matched for age and sex. The number of neurones in the motor cortex did not differ significantly between the controls and alcoholics, but in both cortical regions there was evidence that alcoholic patients had smaller (shrunken) neurones than controls. Further studies are necessary to identify other regions of the cerebral cortex that are selectively damaged in brain damage associated with alcohol.