Reversible brain shrinkage in abstinent alcoholics, measured by MRI

Neuroradiology. 1988;30(5):385-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00404102.


Magnetic resonance imaging of the intracranial CSF volume was compared before and after 5 weeks of confirmed abstinence in 9 alcohol-dependent patients. All patients showed a highly significant reduction in CSF volume in accordance with reexpansion of the brain after alcohol abstinence. T2 values for white matter, estimated by linear regression from 16 echoes of a CPGM sequence, however, showed no significant increase such as occurs in rehydration. This indicates, that alcohol-induced reversible brain atrophy cannot be attributed to fluctuation of free water in the brain only.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Atrophy
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / pathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Middle Aged
  • Temperance