Damage caused by alcohol – the molecular explanation
Alcohol statistics in the United States: approximately seventeen million people abuse and suffer from side effects of alcohol. All factors considered this is a huge number that should cause health experts and the general population alike sleepless nights – and it is. Excessive use of alcohol has been shown to have adverse effects on the brain and its functioning especially cognitively. Our motor skills, our memories and our ability to learn are all part of our cognition and this is greatly affected when alcohol is abused. Scientists have in the recent past endeavored to explain this at a molecular level.
In order to adequately explain what happens to the brain of an alcoholic at a molecular level, scientists carried out an experiment. Brain specimen was harvested from forty deceased bodies. 20 of these were the brains of individuals who frequently used alcohol during their lives and the other half were from non drinkers. In all these forty brains the frontal cortex was the area of interest since it is the one that regulates how we process thoughts and behave. The cortex is also the section of the brain that controls abstract thinking.
Findings and conclusion
The study showed that in alcoholics the prefrontal cortex altered the levels of certain vital proteins. These alterations lead to a disorganization in the brain which ultimately affects cognitive functioning among other things. The results of this study are crucial because while they may not have shown everything there is to understand about the molecular effects of alcohol in the brain, they certainly open doors to new possibilities in the medical field that can lead to better lives for reformed alcoholics. New drugs can be developed to help reverse or at the very least reduce the damage on brain cells giving addicts at least part of their cognitive abilities back. Hopefully these results can also lead to further studies to help understand at a more scientific level what happens to other sections of the human body other than the brain and how the damage can be repaired to give victims a fresh chance at life.