versão impressa ISSN 0021-2571
Ann. Ist. Super. Sanità vol.47 no.2 Roma Jan. 2011
BOOK REVIEWS, NOTES AND COMMENTS
Research on the neurobiology of alcohol use disorders.
Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy firstname.lastname@example.org
Research on the neurobiology of alcohol use disorders. Leo Sher (Ed.). New York: Nova Sciences Publishers; 2008. ISBN 978-1-60456-197-5 372 p.
The book highlights the remarkable evolution of research on alcoholism in the last years, focusing on the importance of neurobiology of alcohol biological effects. It is edited by Leo Sher professor of Psychiatry at the Columbia University in the city of New York, whose areas of expertise include the diagnosis, treatment and neurobiology of depression, bipolar disorder, with particular attention to psychobiology of alcoholism, suicidal behaviour and post-traumatic stress disorder. Leo Sher is editor of several books about these topics and in this book he collected the contributes of different international experts to describe the neurobiological mechanisms of alcohol abuse and dependence and to provide information on the recent researches. Neurodisorders deriving from alcohol exposure are treated including cognitive aspects of prenatal alcohol damage, and the book offers a broad perspective presenting different aspects related to epidemiology, clinical handling and pharmacological treatment, psychiatry and neurophysiology, genetics, gender-related problems and synergy alcohol/environment. Alcohol use is not new and humans have consumed alcohol for thousands of years. Alcohol drinking is part of a long history of remedial, recreational and ceremonial functions and, representing one of the most ancient traditions in western countries, it has been part of people life from many generations. Unfortunately, alcohol use has significantly risen since World War II and nowadays new models of life, modifying cultural traditions and drinking patterns (e.g., alcoholic beverages are consumed in non-traditional context and together with new forms of commodities and foods) lead to an increasing spread of alcohol damage and make alcohol-related problems as a social and health alert. The burden of alcohol damages is significant for the society and public health even for two epidemiological evidences: the decreasing age of first alcohol use and the increasing number of problematic drinkers among women. Both these factors may be predictive of long-term problems since neuro-researches demonstrated that early alcohol use favourites alcohol abuse in adults; furthermore women drinking enhances the risk of prenatal alcohol exposure and consequent permanent brain damages in children exposed to alcohol in utero. Over the last 40 years much has been achieved in highlighting and treating the health effects of alcohol specially on the liver. More recent alcohol studies have been improving knowledge about alcohol-related brain damages which play a fundamental role in alcohol warning. In fact the long-lasting effects on the brain are deeply deleterious for individuals and, consequently, for the whole society. The conditions that lead to excessive alcohol use in some individuals and not in others are very complex and involve interaction between genetic, psychosocial, neurobiological and environmental factors.
The recent remarkable evolution of the neurobiological research on alcohol suggested the publication of this book that proposes a structured collection of studies about alcohol effects. The volume is organized into eighteen chapters, each one written by leading experts in different field of alcohol use disorders, to give a comprehensive picture of neurobiology of alcohol abuse and dependence. This text will be a useful tool for biomedical researchers and clinicians who are interested in the mechanisms of addictive disorders. Actually the rapid acceleration of new discoveries in neurobiology due to human and animal studies is yielding important information for neurobiologist every day and a book that highlights some of the main topics benefiting from this new information. may be a good starting point to deepen the studies on neurobiology of alcohol disorders and to ameliorate the clinical handling of alcoholic patients.