Read the Beforeitsnews.com story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
Story Views
Now:
Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:
Total:

Alcohol and Your Brain: Study Finds Even Moderate Drinking is Damaging

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.


By Tony Rao, King’s College London

It’s a well-known fact that drinking too much alcohol can have a serious impact on your health, including damaging your liver. But how much is too much? For conditions such as liver cirrhosis, that’s usually more than 21 units of alcohol a week – around two bottles of wine a week or one and a half pints of beer a day. The UK’s Chief Medical Officer recommends that adults don’t drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week to keep the risk of health problems low.

However, the liver isn’t the only organ that can be damaged by drinking – the brain can be damaged, too. Drinking over the current UK low-risk guidelines is associated with an increased risk of dementia. And a recent study, published in Scientific Reports, found that even moderate drinking is associated with decreased brain volume.

The researchers in this latest study looked at 300 people between the ages of 39 and 45 to understand the effects of drinking on the brain. Most people in the study reported that they drank at what was considered moderate or low-risk levels (an average of less than 14 units of alcohol a week). Even at this level, there was a reduction in the amount of total brain tissue seen on brain scans. This held true for men and women when other risk factors, such as smoking, were considered. Their brains were compared against a reference model of average brain volume.

Although the study didn’t look at the physiological impact of brain tissue loss, any significant loss of brain tissue will reduce the brain’s ability to function at an optimal level. Though the adult brain shrinks slowly with age, the earlier the loss starts, brain shrinkage is likely to be accelerated by other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, that may arise in late middle age and later life. This is important, as we now know that some of the early signs of brain damage from alcohol can be partially reversed after abstinence. Which has been seen as early at six weeks after total abstinence – more in the frontal lobes of the brain, which play an important role in regulating behaviour and our thinking.

These findings are similar to those of an earlier study which found that drinking between seven and 14 units of alcohol a week was associated with a smaller brain size. This level of drinking was also associated with poorer performance on skills that involved recalling memorised words on demand.

Frontal lobe damage

When we study the effects of alcohol on the brain, we naturally focus on dementia. This inevitably means looking for memory changes. After all, a diagnosis of dementia relies on memory loss. But we now know that the brain’s frontal lobes are actually damaged by alcohol at an earlier stage than those parts of the brain associated with memory. The frontal lobes control our personality, behaviour and ability to think flexibly. These skills are not assessed by tests commonly used to diagnose dementia.

Anti-Aging OxyFuel HERE

But drinking in a way that the general population believe to be sensible and moderate might be slowly damaging our brains. Given this, we need to be better at detecting damage at an earlier stage. Luckily, a eight item test can now detect cognitive impairment early on, and is used routinely by specialists in mental health services to detect brain damage from alcohol in its early stages. Other tests of frontal lobe function can also be performed in hospitals or general practices.

Older drinkers

The discovery that alcohol has the potential to damage our brains at levels at which we might find surprising and in ways that are not usually detected, has major implications for our society. For example, baby boomers (people now aged between 55 and 74) have shown the sharpest rise in harm from alcohol compared with other generations and previous generations of the same age. They are also at higher risk of dementia than younger age groups.

If we are to tackle the problem, we need to change both attitudes to drinking and in how we deliver healthcare. Changing drinking behaviour in older people needs to be accompanied by picking up the early signs of brain damage for all those who drink alcohol.

Progress has been made in asking older people about their alcohol use within both public health and mental health policy. But this not yet happened for the detection of brain damage in people who drink alcohol. Giving equal importance to both our brain and our liver can help us stay in better health. As a society, we have the potential to take care of both these vital organs.

Cutting down the amount we drink or giving it up altogether can reduce our risk of brain damage. But this can only happen if we also maintain a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and exercise.The Conversation

Tony Rao, Visiting Lecturer in Old Age Psychiatry, King’s College London

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Image caption and credit: Even drinking fewer than 14 units of alcohol a week was damaging. ELEVATE/ Pexels, CC BY

FREE PDF: 10 Best Books To Survive Food Shortages & Famines

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/naturalblaze/~3/45glGSVXyXQ/alcohol-and-your-brain-study-finds-even-moderate-drinking-is-damaging.html


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!


Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at https://mitocopper.com

Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at https://www.herbanomic.com


Get our Free Ebook, "Suppressed Health Secrets"  with  Natural Cures THEY don't want you to know!

Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Organic Hemp Extract (CBD) - Full Spectrum high CBD (3300mg) hemp extract eases stiff joints, relieves stress and more!
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Immusist Beverage Concentrate - Proprietary blend, formulated to reduce inflammation while hydrating and oxygenating the cells.

Report abuse
Loading...
Loading...

Comments

Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

MOST RECENT
Load more ...

SignUp

Login

Newsletter

Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.