Study Shows Too Much Drinking Shrinks Your Brain

Do you polish off this much each week?Do you polish off this much each week?

Debating on whether or not to have that last drink for the night? A new study at the Wellesley College in Massachusetts has found that the more alcohol you consume, the more your brain shrinks.

The brain will normally shrink with age, but researchers have found that drinking more than 14 alcoholic drinks per week will speed up this process of brain shrinkage.

Memory problems, along with the beginnings of dementia have been linked to shrinkage of the brain.

A study was done on 1,839 men and women over two years, asking them how much alcohol they drank on a regular basis. Most people reported drinking one to seven alcoholic beverages a week, which is considered low intake. Men were more likely to report drinking higher amounts of alcohol – more than 14 drinks per week.

Brain scans were performed and researchers found that the more a person drank, the more their brain volume diminished.

While women tend to be lighter drinkers, the study showed a greater effect of this with women. Researchers state that this difference in gender could be the result of women generally being smaller in size and their higher susceptibility to the effects of alcohol.

Carol Ann Paul, from Wellesley College, who led the study, warned: "The public health effect of this study gives a clear message about the possible dangers of drinking alcohol."

"There was a significant negative linear relationship between alcohol consumption and total ... brain volume."

The findings are published in the October issue of the Archives of Neurology.


Sources: Archives of Neurology, MedPage