Published: 19-02-2024 16:45 | Updated: 19-02-2024 16:48

New thesis on alcohol related cognitive impairment

Hi Theofanis Tsevis, doctoral student at the Division of Clinical Geriatrics. On February 23 you will defend your thesis ”Alcohol consumption and cognition”. What is the main focus of the thesis?

Theofanis Tsevis, doctoral student at the Division of Clinical Geriatrics, NVS. Photo: Private.

In recent years there has been significant progress in the definition and better understanding of all types of dementia. However, progress has not been of the same rate regarding alcohol related cognitive impairment. The main focus of my thesis is to characterize the clinical (structural and neuropsychological) profile of alcohol-related brain damage in older individuals, to investigate how the effect of alcohol on cognition is influenced by specific contributing socioeconomic and clinical factors and finally to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of specific screening test (4AT) in identifying signs of cognitive impairment and delirium.

Which are the most important results?  

We have shown that there are specific interactions between alcohol consumption and socioeconomic parameters such as education and income which significantly affect cognitive performance on neuropsychological tests. We have observed that alcohol high-consuming cognitively unimpaired older individuals have specific frontal and occipital cortical thinning. In addition, we found that alcohol-related cortical thinning in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPC) is associated with worse performance in episodic memory, which suggests that there are possibly other cognitive functions that affect performance on episodic memory in normal aging and MCI. Finally, we have shown that 4AT has good diagnostic accuracy to identifiy delirium in geriatric units.

How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health?  

Out findings can potentially contribute to the structure and implementation of new models of assessment and treatment of alcohol-related cognitive impairment in memory clinics and inpatient geriatric wards.

What’s in the future for you? Will you continue to conduct research?

Yes, I would be very happy to continue to combine my clinical duties with research in the cognitive health of older individuals.


theofanis tsevis Affiliated to Research