Alcohol-induced spasms of cerebral blood vessels: relation to cerebrovascular accidents and sudden death

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Science  15 Apr 1983:
Vol. 220, Issue 4594, pp. 331-333
DOI: 10.1126/science.6836278


Ethyl alcohol produced graded contractile responses in rat cerebral arterioles and venules in vivo and in isolated canine basilar and middle cerebral arteries at a concentration range (10 to 500 milligrams per deciliter) which parallels that needed for its graded effects of euphoria, mental haziness, muscular incoordination, stupor, and coma in humans. Two specific calcium antagonists, nimodipine and verapamil, prevented or reversed the alcohol-induced cerebrovasospasm and thus may prove valuable in treating the hypertension and stroke observed in heavy users of alcohol.