Moderate drinking can harm the brain.
Moderate drinking can injure the brain. New research suggests that moderate consumption, for many years, could hurt areas of the brain connected to memory and cognitive function.
Study involved many brain scans and cognitive tests on more than 500 people.
Researchers examined more than five hundred participants who were already involved in the Whitehall II study, a study that started in 1985 aiming to examine the connection between socioeconomic status, stress and cardiovascular health in civil workers.
The scientists examined the brain structure consisting grey matter density, hippocampal atrophy and white matter by carrying out a magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) scan on the test subjects at the end of the study (between 2012 and 2015).
Results of the study showed that the greater the quantity of alcohol consumed a week, the higher the risk of damage to definite areas in the brain, together with those connected with memory.
This was not found for “light” drinkers (people who drink between one and seven units a week).Though the scan was only performed once so we don’t know if and when the brain structures altered or whether the changes were caused by other factors.
Many people drinking alcohol in heavy quantities which is more than seven units a week had a faster decline in capability to name words starting with the same letter but no variation for any other brain test.
The scientists concluded that the discovery that alcohol consumption in moderate quantities is linked with several markers of irregular brain structure and cognitive function has significant possible public health implications for a large sector of the people.
United Kingdom has changed its guidelines on alcohol last year to reflect proof that there is no such thing as a “safe level” of drinking; just a level when harms were at their lowest.