Journal of Neurology and Neuroscience

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Alcohol Impedes Neuroplasticity and Functional Recovery after Stroke

Poonam Chaturvedi

Background: Recovery after stroke depends upon neurogenesis, angiogenesis and synaptogenesis known as neuroplasticity. Neurotrophins play very important role in neuroplasticity but it can be affected by several risk factors such as diabetes mellitus (DM), hypertension, smoking and alcohol consumption. In this study we tried to find out the most significant risk factor which severely affect stroke outcome and neuroplasticity.

Subjects and methods: In this study 208 patients with stroke were recruited and divided into two groups according to presence and absence of risk factors such as diabetic- non diabetic; hypertensive- non hypertensive; with and without both DM+ hypertension and alcoholic- non =alcoholic. We used Functional Independence Measure (FIM) Scale to assess functional recovery and Serum Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (S. BDNF) to assess neuroplasticity in each patient.

Results: Alcohol is the most significant risk factor which affect the stroke outcome severely. Non- alcoholic patients showed better recovery and higher serum BDNF levels than alcoholic patients. The improvement was highly significant both after two weeks (p=.025) and at six months (p=.001). Lower serum levels of BDNF were observed in group 1 at admission (Group. 1=8.51 ± 4.26 ng/ml; group 2=(10.34 ± 3.96 ng/ml, p=.001). FIM score in alcoholics 34.66 ± 9.81 to 60.33 ± 15.31 and in non- alcoholics 39.48 ± 19.30 to 68.24 ± 20.29, p=.03). Alcohol was found a significant risk factor for poor outcome (F (2.5), p=.023).

Conclusion: These findings suggest us that alcohol slows down the process of neuroplasticity and is a risk factor for poor outcome after stroke.