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blackout, what happened?

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Fri Dec 13 22:34:31 EST 1996

In <72lob54gns.fsf at trio.ii.uib.no> Helge Avlesen <avle at trio.ii.uib.no>
>A stupid question to all you brainexperts out there:
>Is it true that drinking large quantities of alcohol kills braincells?
>Why do some get blackouts, and what happens with the brain physically?

>We are some friends discussing this, and we found out we really don't
>have a clue...
>Helge A.
Check out literature on NMDA, LTP (long term potentiation), memory:
experimental work (rats) shows brief blocking of NMDA activation
immediately after a "1-trial learning" experience prevents LTP and
prevents memory formation (for that event).  Then check out literature
on effect of various things on NMDA: ketamine blocks it very strongly,
but alcohol also tends to.  May be individual differences in
vulnerability (e.g. number or sensitivity of NMDA receptors, e.g.
strength of converging inflences on NMDA activation and/or subsequent
events--NO production, etc.

Frank LeFever
New York Neuropsychology Group

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