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Cognitive impairment in Aboriginal people with heavy episodic patterns of alcohol use

Cairney, Sheree J., Clough, Alan R., Jaragba, M. and Maruff, P. (2007). Cognitive impairment in Aboriginal people with heavy episodic patterns of alcohol use. Addiction,102(6):909-915.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 10240xPUB17
Title Cognitive impairment in Aboriginal people with heavy episodic patterns of alcohol use
Author Cairney, Sheree J.
Clough, Alan R.
Jaragba, M.
Maruff, P.
Journal Name Addiction
Publication Date 2007
Volume Number 102
Issue Number 6
ISSN 0965-2140   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 909
End Page 915
Total Pages 7
Place of Publication UK
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Background With chronic alcohol abuse, cognitive studies suggest that progressive cognitive decline may precede more serious and irreversible neurological syndromes. The early detection of cognitive impairment may therefore aid in the prevention of permanent brain damage. Despite the devastating consequences of alcohol abuse among Aboriginal Australians, the effects on brain function have never been studied in this population and a lack of appropriate assessment tools has prevented the development of such research. Aims To determine the impact of long-term and heavy episodic alcohol use on cognitive function in Aboriginal people. Design Cross-sectional comparing heavy episodic alcohol users with non-alcohol users. Setting Two remote Aboriginal communities in north-east Arnhem Land, northern Australia. Subjects The control group consisted of 24 non-drinkers (15 males, nine female) and the heavy episodic group consisted of 20 people (19 males, one female) who had been drinking alcohol in a heavy episodic style (median 14 drinks per occasion) for a mean of 8.9 years (SD = 5.0). Measurements Interview to obtain demographic information, substance abuse history and symptoms of mental health and wellbeing, together with a computerized cognitive assessment battery (CogState Ltd). Findings Compared with non-drinkers, heavy episodic drinkers showed reduced psychomotor speed (P = 0.04) and reduced accuracy when performing tasks of attention (P = 0.045), working memory (P = 0.04), implicit memory (P = 0.03) and associate learning and memory (P = 0.001). Conclusions Specific cognitive abnormalities that suggest frontostriatal abnormalities and have been observed in association with chronic alcoholism in other populations were observed among Aboriginal Australians who were heavy episodic alcoholic users.
Keywords Aboriginal
alcohol
cognitive
episodic
memory
cross-cultural neuropsychology
arnhem-land
northern territory
substance use
kava use
drug use
community
brain
australia
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2007.01840.x   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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