While it’s widely accepted that drinking too much is bad for you, conventional wisdom…says that alcohol can be consumed in moderation. The US government defines that as one drink a day for women and two for men.
This study…finds that drinking around these levels — 8 to 12 drinks a week — is associated with a few measures of cognitive decline that showed up on brain scans.
The researchers found that moderate drinking over those 30-plus years was associated with degeneration and shrinking of the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in memory and navigation, as well degeneration of the brain’s white matter.
In essence, “the more people drank, the smaller their hippocampus,” said Anya Topiwala, a psychiatry professor at University of Oxford. Consuming one more alcoholic drink per week was associated with a 0.01 percent decrease in the size of the hippocampus. For comparison, aging one year was associated with a 0.02 percent decrease.
…[However,] 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.
[Read the full study here]
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