One glass of wine a day can damage the brain

Think twice before having that next drink

The people with the highest risk drank more than 30 units of alcohol a week on average, but researchers also found that those who drank moderately consuming between 14 and 21 units of alcohol per week were far more at risk to have hippocampal atrophy than those who abstain from drinking alcohol.

Researchers noted people who drank the most had the highest risk of hippocampal atrophy, a form of brain damage.

The authors wrote: "We found increased odds of hippocampal atrophy at just 14-21 units a week, and we found no support for a protective effect of light consumption on brain structure". After controlling for a variety of factors, including age, education, physical and social activity, social class, and medical history, they found a link between alcohol consumption and an increased risk of cognitive decline. Other experts, on the other hand, said that moderate drinkers need not give up the booze exclusively because of the report. The "drank the most" group in this study consumed about 30 units of alcohol a week, with a unit considered to be 10 milliliters or 8 grams of pure alcohol.

The results had to be adjusted to a whole lot of variables which could affect the memory and other brain functions with or without the influence of alcohol.

Despite the study's findings, experts such as Dr. Doug Brown, director of research and development at Alzheimer's Society, told the Guardian that people should not think they need to stop drinking completely. If you are the one to closely monitor your alcohol consumption and consciously limit your alcohol intake, researchers opine that it is not good enough to guard you from the ill-effects of alcohol.

Drinking in moderation can help our health, some research has showed.

The researchers also found that, compared with abstinence, light drinking - defined as no more than 7 units per week - offered no protective effect against hippocampal atrophy.




A new study concludes that even moderate alcohol consumption is linked to a raised risk of faster decline in brain health and mental function.

"These type of studies also can not account for all the (factors), and therefore they can not, and should not, conclude causation", Heneghan said. Moderate drinkers have a 30% to 40% reduction in the risk of type 2 diabetes compared with those who don't drink, studies show.

But for those who were moderate drinkers, 65 percent of those participants had shrinkage, and 77 percent of unsafe drinkers had the same. The researchers did not look at heavy or abusive drinking, because Topiwala says that is already firmly established with regards to brain damage and dementia. The hippocampus also plays a part in the formation of long-term memory.

They found alcohol use was associated with reduced size of the right hippocampus - a part of the brain linked to memory and navigation.

The research was an observational study and targeted the alcohol intake of participants in the Whitehall II study.

The study only looked at a few hundred Londoners, mostly well-educated and middle-class, so it may not be representative of a wider population. Data on some individuals was missing and they said they "cannot exclude the possibility we have included some people who were alcohol-dependent at some points during the study period".

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