The research, using a dataset of more than 36,000 adults, revealed that going from one to two drinks a day was associated with changes in the brain equivalent to aging two years. Heavier drinking was linked with an even greater toll.
The science on heavy drinking and the brain is clear: The two don’t have a healthy relationship. People who drink heavily have alterations in brain structure and size that are associated with cognitive impairments.
But according to a new study, alcohol consumption even at levels most would consider modest—a few beers or glasses of wine a week—may also carry risks to the brain. An analysis of data from more than 36,000 adults, led by a team from the University of Pennsylvania, found that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption was associated with reductions in overall brain volume.
The link grew stronger the greater the level of alcohol consumption, the researchers showed. As an example, in 50-year-olds, as average drinking among individuals increases from one alcohol unit (about half a beer) a day to two units (a pint of beer or a glass of wine) there are associated changes in the brain equivalent to aging two years. Going from two to three alcohol units at the same age was like aging three and a half years. The team reported their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Release date: 04 March 2022
Source: University of Pennsylvania