Hippocampus volume loss due to chronic heavy drinking

Thomas P. Beresford, David B. Arciniegas, Julie Alfers, Lori Clapp, Brandon Martin, Yiping Du, Dengfeng Liu, Dinggang Shen, Christos Davatzikos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: No clear consensus exists regarding the effect of sustained, heavy drinking on hippocampal volume. Our prior work hypothesized significantly lowered total hippocampus volumes in heavy chronically drinking alcohol-dependent (AD) subjects compared with light-drinking nondependent control subjects matched for age and gender. Method: Using a series of applicable exclusion criteria culled from previous published studies, we measured hippocampal volumes from MRI scan data acquired on a 3T scanner and subjected those data to automated volume analysis blind to the drinking history. Results: Comparison with AD test (n=8) and non-AD control (n=8) subjects found significant lessening in total (p=0.020) and left (p=0.010) hippocampal volumes with a near-significant difference on the right (p=0.051). Linear regression demonstrated that neither total brain volume nor intracranial volume affected the hippocampus measures. Conclusions: These data support the view that heavy drinking exerts a unique and selectively injurious effect on the hippocampus. Further study in larger samples must verify this in a search for possible mechanisms of injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1866-1870
Number of pages5
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Nov


  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Hippocampus
  • MRI Scan
  • Volume Loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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