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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Alcohol abuse and brain infarction.

Recent findings on the relation between alcohol abuse and ischaemic brain infarction are reviewed. Much of the association has hitherto been explained by the effects of confounding factors such as smoking. Alcohol increases blood pressure in both hypertensive and normotensive subjects and alcohol induced hypertension enhances the risk of both hemorrhagic and ischaemic strokes. Analysis of case histories shows that alcohol abuse has precipitated cerebral embolism in conjunction with cardiac diseases including alcoholic cardiomyopathy and paradoxical embolism due to deep vein thrombosis via atrial septal defect. Among young adults, falling when intoxicated with alcohol has caused traumatic dissection of the carotid artery and consequent brain infarction. Alcohol may predispose individuals to cerebral embolism, thrombosis and ischaemia via its effects on the coagulation cascade, platelet count and function and contractility of the cerebral vessels. Further studies are needed to prove that these mechanisms are significant and to identify any other mechanisms which may mediate the risk associated with alcohol abuse. On the basis of current data, alcohol should be considered as an independent risk factor for ischaemic cerebral infarction in young adults.[1]


  1. Alcohol abuse and brain infarction. Hillbom, M., Kaste, M. Ann. Med. (1990) [Pubmed]
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