Traumatic brain injury: influence of blood alcohol level on post-acute cognitive function

Brain Inj. 1999 Oct;13(10):767-84. doi: 10.1080/026990599121160.


Alcohol intoxication frequently contributes to the occurrence of traumatic brain injury. Few studies, however, have examined whether acute pre-injury alcohol intoxication or premorbid history of alcohol abuse exacerbate cognitive impairments that commonly result from traumatic brain injury. This study examined the influence of blood alcohol level at time of hospital admission on cognitive functioning during the post-acute stage of recovery from traumatic brain injury. After controlling for pre-injury history of alcohol abuse, hospital admission blood alcohol level was predictive of poorer delayed verbal memory, greater decrement in verbal memory over time, and poorer visuospatial functioning. Moreover, there were non-significant trends for higher blood alcohol levels to predict poorer performance on measures of immediate verbal memory and perseveration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / blood
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / complications*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology
  • Brain Injury, Chronic / blood
  • Brain Injury, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Brain Injury, Chronic / etiology*
  • Ethanol / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Risk Factors


  • Ethanol