The Division of Neuroscience, NIA cosponsored this workshop with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which focused on the neurobiology of aging and alcohol. The aging process is associated with changes that place older individuals at special risk for alcohol-related health problems. Older individuals differ in their metabolism of alcohol and their physiological and behavioral responses to alcohol. One of the primary factors in heightened sensitivity is impaired development of alcohol tolerance. Drinking also may aggravate various pathological conditions in the elderly, including stroke, hypertension, memory loss, and cognitive and emotional dysfunction. Although aging can be a key factor in the response to alcohol, the neurobiology underlying this relationship has remained largely unexplored. This workshop's goal was to discuss basic neurobiological processes that may mediate alcohol-aging interactions. Topics included recent progress in genetics, molecular biology, electrophysiology, pharmacology, neuroimaging, and behavior and how they relate to aging and to the effects of alcohol.
Participants at this workshop included Carl Cotman, Carol Barnes, John Disterhoft, Edith Sullivan, and Cheryl Grady.
Dr. Molly Wagster