Daily US Times: A new study shows there is no such thing as a “safe” level of drinking, as any amount of alcohol causes damage to the brain. The study has not yet been peer-reviewed.
In an observational study, researchers from the Oxford University studied the link between the self-reported alcohol intake of some 25,000 people in the UK, and their brain scans.
The researchers noted that drinking alcohol had an effect on the brain’s gray matter — regions in the brain that make up “important bits where information is processed,” lead author Anya Topiwala noted, who is a senior clinical researcher at Oxford.
Topiwala said via email: “The more people drank, the less the volume of their gray matter,”
She explained: “Brain volume reduces with age and more severely with dementia. Smaller brain volume also predicts worse performance on memory testing.”
The senior Oxford researchers said alcohol only made a small contribution to this (0.8%), it was a greater contribution than other ‘modifiable’ risk factors,” adding that modifiable risk factors are “ones you can do something about, in contrast to aging.”
The researchers also investigated whether certain drinking patterns, beverage types and other health conditions made a difference to the impact of alcohol on brain health.
But they found that there was no “safe” level of drinking — meaning that drinking any amount of alcohol was worse than not drinking it.
They also found no evidence that the type of drink — such as beer, wine or spirits — affected the harm done to the brain.