Recent evidence has shown that cognitive dysfunction is associated with a history of binge drinking in adolescents who do not have an alcohol use disorder. Most previous studies with adults, however, have failed to show a link between cognitive dysfunction and subdiagnostic binge drinking, nor have any studies investigated the additive cognitive effect of binge drinking to ischemic stroke.
To examine whether a pattern of cognitive dysfunction, especially executive and memory dysfunction, in patients with a first-ever ischemic stroke is associated with a history of subdiagnostic binge drinking.
We studied 206 first-ever ischemic stroke patients (18–65 years) and 50 healthy, demographically comparable adults—both groups with no alcohol use disorder. After exclusion by matching, 189 patients and 39 healthy participants were included in our study (228 participants). The binge-drinking group included 76 participants; the non–binge-drinking group included 152. A multivariate analysis of covariance was used to compare nine cognitive functions between the two groups, with age, education, and stroke severity used as covariates.
Binge drinking had a significant negative effect on executive functions (P<0.001). The non–binge-drinking group outperformed the binge-drinking group on the Stroop Test (P=0.001), Trail Making Test (P=0.002), and a phonemic fluency test (P=0.005). The Binge×Stroke Severity interaction (P=0.037) indicated that a history of binge drinking increased the negative effect of stroke on executive functions.
Subdiagnostic binge drinking may exacerbate the adverse effects of ischemic stroke on executive dysfunction.