It seems that scientists can never really agree on how much alcohol i actually damaging to your health, however, new research doesn’t bring great news by saying that social drinkers also experience brain damage.
A 30-year long study that has examined the brains of 50 people indicates that even moderate alcohol consumption is associated with adverse brain changes.
This information does sound quite serious but still fairly unclear and general. All the study subjects were participating in the UK’s Whitehall II study, which focused on health and stress. None of the research subjects were deemed alcohol dependent.
The research itself actually showed that the heaviest drinkers had the highest risk of brain damage associated with memory loss conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This damage also included faster language skills decline as well as poorer white matter integrity. This integrity helps us process thoughts in an instantaneous manner. Obviously, the longer the drinking goes on, the more serious and faster the changes.
However, what seems to be surprising is that moderate drinkers also has a very high risk of hippocampal atrophy. The researchers were surprised that that lighter drinkers weren’t somehow protected from the serious consequences of drinking. The study co-author Dr. Anya Topiwala, a clinical lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford mentioned how those are people who are considered to be social drinkers which mean that they are really not consuming large amounts of alcohol.
According to the study parameters, the heavy drinkers were defined as those who were consuming around 2 wine glasses every night of the week while moderate drinkers were drinking a medium sized glass each night of the week, with a bit more on the weekend.
However, this study is far from a final conclusion on alcohol consumption. There are many factors that need to be taken into account when assessing any kind of physical damage and trying to tie it certain causes. Correct nutrition plays a huge role in protecting from cognitive decline and should be one of the factors considered for further research on this subject.