Even moderate drinking may damage your brain and memory function

Corn is spread out to dry after harvest in Khok Dach, Cambodia

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]

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Even moderate drinking may speed brain decline

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