Memory problems in rats caused by chronic alcohol intake can be mostly reversed with brain tissue transplants, and such therapy may someday help alcoholics and victims of Alzheimer's disease, a researcher said.
"I think that really means there's hope, if you blow your mind with too much whiskey, maybe we'll be able to repair it with transplants," or similarly ease mental deficits in Alzheimer's, said Jeffrey Gray of the Institute of Psychiatry in London.
But experts in alcohol-induced memory problems were skeptical, questioning the resemblance of the rats' condition to that of alcoholics and cautioning that any implication for treatment is only speculation.
Gray, head of the psychology department at the psychiatric institute in London, reports the research with colleagues in the current issue of the British journal Nature.
About 10% of alcoholics develop long-lasting memory loss, either by itself or as part of an overall loss in intellectual abilities, according to the federal alcohol institute.