Frontal lobe changes in alcoholism: A review of the literature

H. F. Moselhy, G. Georgiou, A. Kahn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

441 Citations (Scopus)


Alcohol can induce a wide spectrum of effects on the central nervous system. These effects can be recognized at the neurophysiological, morphological and neuropsychological levels. Several studies of the effect of alcohol on the frontal lobes were identified for review from MedLine, PsychLIT databases and by manual searching. In this review article, the different changes are examined in detail. Computed tomography studies have reported changes of frontal lobe in alcoholism, while magnetic resonance imaging studies supported these findings. Neurophysiological studies with positron emission tomography and single photon emission computed tomography have reported a decreased frontal lobe glucose utilization and reduced cerebral blood flow. There is also evidence from neuropsychological studies that there are specific deficits in alcoholism that suggest frontal lobe dysfunction. Considered together, these studies lend a strong credence to the concept of frontal lobe pathology in alcoholism. However, frontal lobe is not an isolated part of the brain and should be considered with its heavy connections to different cortical and subcortical areas of the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-368
Number of pages12
JournalAlcohol and Alcoholism
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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