Moderate drinking won’t shrink your brain, but people with smaller brains do drink ‘slightly’ more

people are drinking alcohol at a party but it could lead to liver cancer

Alcohol is one of the most widely used and abused drugs on the planet. It’s important for us to understand how it is, or is not, affecting our bodies and our health. There are countless studies linking alcohol and health – from how a small amount of red wine may be good for your heart, to how moderate drinking may help protect against dementia – but the problem is that correlation doesn’t always imply causation.

As a PhD student, I wondered, could I test the popular claim that moderate alcohol use shrinks people’s brains?

First, my colleagues and I examined a group of over 1,300 college-aged adults and found several parts of the brain that were smaller in people who drank more. I then conducted an analysis on a second data set with adult twins and their siblings (over 800 of them), looking at alcohol consumption and brain volume, and did not find any evidence of a causal effect.

Related article:  Brain building block glutamate could be key to treating Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, depression

This, and some other analyses, suggested that there are separate genetic factors that drive both reduced brain volume and increased alcohol consumption.

Moderate alcohol consumption, it turns out, doesn’t shrink people’s brains. Instead, people with brains that are a little smaller than average in a couple places are likely to drink slightly more than people with average sized-brains.

Read the original post

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend