It is now well established that even uncomplicated alcoholics who have no specific neurological or hepatic problems show signs of regional brain damage and cognitive dysfunction. Improvements in neuroimaging technology, magnetic resonance imaging, magnetic resonance spectroscopy and positron emission tomography have contributed significantly, revealing alcoholic-specific changes in the CNS associated with neuropsychological abnormalities. Although greater efforts are needed, a human brain bank specifically targeting alcohol cases is now able to provide fresh and frozen tissue for alcohol researchers. These tissues can be used to test hypotheses developed using animal models and/or in vitro studies. The aim is to delineate mechanisms underlying alcohol-related brain damage in humans. The development of high-throughput, non-hypothesis-driven approaches using DNA microarrays and proteomics might also provide clues to this important problem. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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