CNN – Drinking any amount of alcohol causes damage to the brain, study finds


« The more people drank, the less the volume of their gray matter. »

Jeudi 20 mai 2021 ((–

There is no such thing as a « safe » level of drinking, with increased consumption of alcohol associated with poorer brain health, according to a new study.

In an observational study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, researchers from the University of Oxford studied the relationship between the self-reported alcohol intake of some 25,000 people in the UK, and their brain scans.

The researchers noted that drinking had an effect on the brain’s gray matter — regions in the brain that make up « important bits where information is processed, » according to lead author Anya Topiwala, a senior clinical researcher at Oxford.

« The more people drank, the less the volume of their gray matter, » Topiwala said via email.

« Brain volume reduces with age and more severely with dementia. Smaller brain volume also predicts worse performance on memory testing, » she explained. « Whilst alcohol only made a small contribution to this (0.8%), it was a greater contribution than other ‘modifiable’ risk factors, » she said, explaining that modifiable risk factors are « ones you can do something about, in contrast to aging. »

Type of alcohol doesn’t matter

The team also investigated whether certain drinking patterns, beverage types and other health conditions made a difference to the impact of alcohol on brain health.They found that there was no « safe » level of drinking — meaning that consuming any amount of alcohol was worse than not drinking it. They also found no evidence that the type of drink — such as wine, spirits or beer — affected the harm done to the brain.


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