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Does alcohol damage brain?

100% scientific. This article is written by Russian scientist: toxicologist Stanislav Radchenko.

Daily consumption of strong alcoholic beverages leads to the loss of intelligence. Though over a number of years such mental deficiency is mainly connected with deterioration of capability to acquire new knowledge and could be identified with a help of special tests. Impact of alcohol on brain strengthens if there are any neurological problems (epilepsy, past serious head injuries, neuro-infections etc).

Today much emphasis is given to fact that alcohol damages brain cells. Alcohol actually leads to death of brain cells, but not because it dissolves neurons. What is meant here is that neuron loses a great part of its cell membrane, after which apoptosis (programmed cell death, PCD) happens. The main thing is that in this case all the substances which normally are on the other side of cell membrane making its biological impact on it are transferred into the brain medium. To be more particular, the death of neurons is accompanied by release of endogenous opiates (internal analogue of morphine, heroin and other substances) of enkephalin class. Normally endogenous opiates are used against pain and for stimulation of biologically beneficial behavior. Their excessive release when drinking alcohol is one of the most important factors of alcohol addiction development.

Another phenomenon of «brain dissolving» is a loss of synaptic contacts between neurons. Such substances as diethyl ether, halothane, cycloprapane (all of them are strong organic solvents) used for anesthesia have the similar effect. It is known that so called «street children» in Africa and Asia achieve drug effect by snuffing organic solvents such as acetone, gasoline, glue etc. Strictly speaking, if the alcohol did not dissolve brain, then it wouldn’t cause its well-known drug effect.

Our experts:

Chief expert: Stanislav Radchenko is a Russian scientist, therapist (graduated from Kazan State Medical Institute in 1989), an expert in medical cybernetics doctor (graduated as cybernetic from Russian State Medical University in 1998). He has an academic degree, a Russian equivalent of Ph.D. in medical sciences. A specialist in modeling of acute and chronic intoxications. Experienced toxicologist, who has treated hundreds of patients.

Toxicologist Olga Kalashnikova, works in reanimatology.

Narcologist Maxim Kirsanov.

Эксперт-токсиколог Станислав Радченко,  реаниматолог Ольга Калашникова, Эксперт-нарколог Максим Кирсанов