This study aims to investigate whether there is inflammation in the brains of alcoholics around the time of detoxification and whether this contributes to brain damage as a result of alcohol. We use a form of brain scanning called Positron Emission Tomography (PET) able to detect active immune cells, which cause inflammation, in the brain. We are scanning recently-detoxified alcoholic participants and healthy control participants, to see if the alcoholics have more active immune cells in their brains. We also perform clinical memory tests and tests of other brain functions to see whether there is a relationship between the PET signal and the degree of impairment of brain function. We are also doing blood tests of peripheral inflammatory markers to see if there is a marker of brain inflammation. This research may lead to the development of new treatments to prevent alcohol-related brain damage.
PI: Dr Nicola Kalk