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A. Alcoholics May Reverse Brain Damage by Quitting

Narrator: This is Science Today. Alcoholics often suffer from structural brain damage after years of heavy drinking. Alcohol abuse causes the brain to lose weight, impairing its ability to make decisions and results in the loss of memory, attention and motor skills. But according to a recent study by Doctor Dieter Meyerhoff, a professor at the University of California San Francisco, the brain can reverse this damage once a drinker quits.

Meyerhoff: There are some parts of the brain that structurally do recover, but we don't really know what that means. Repair is good, regaining the weight is good, but does the brain really recover? Does that mean all of the function is recovered?

Narrator: Meyerhoff says more studies are needed to fully answer these questions. Still, he says the current research sends a strong message to alcoholics.

Meyerhoff: We want to let the drinker know that there is chance for recovery, functionally, when they stop drinking. And this is one way to give them an additional motivation to stay dry and sober.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.