1994 issue 3

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Volume 3, issue 3

Zagadnienia neuropsychologii

Functional asymmetry of the cerebral hemispheres in alcohol dependent persons

Bogusław Habrat1
1. Zespołu Profilaktyki i Leczenia Uzależnień IPiN w Warszawie
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 1994, 3, 243-250
Keywords: functional hemispheric lateralization, alcoholism

Abstract

In alcohol dependent persons lateralization of motor and some cognitive functions is different from that in other populations. Relationship between the reversed handedness and tendency, to alcohol abuse is not clear. Anxiety states and cognitive deficits – more frequent in left-handers – may have an effect there. There is no evidence of asymmetric morphological changes due to alcohol abuse. However, alcohol-related changes are noted at the neurophysiological level. Neuropsychological studies show a more marked dysfunction of the right cerebral hemisphere in alcohol dependents. Two hypotheses are posed to explain the causes of this phenomenon: (1) the right hemisphere is particularly susceptible to the toxic effect of alcohol, (2) the findings are an artifact resulting from a methodological flaw, i.e. more "difficult" tests are used for the right hemisphere, which yields interhemispheric differences in test performance although the extent of alcohol-related damage is similar in both hemispheres of the brain.

Address for correspondence:
Dr Bogusław Habrat, ,
Zespół Profilaktyki i Leczenia Uzależnień IPiN,
Al. Sobieskiego 1/9,
02-957 Warszawa