In a new study, researchers found that even moderate alcohol drinking is linked to decreased brain volume.
The research was conducted by a team at the University of Helsinki.
It’s a well-known fact that drinking too much alcohol can have a serious impact on your health, including damaging your liver.
However, the liver isn’t the only organ that can be damaged by drinking – the brain can be damaged, too.
In the study, the team 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 fewer 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 research has shown that some of the early signs of brain damage from alcohol can be partially reversed after abstinence.
These findings are similar to those of an earlier study that found that drinking between seven and 14 units of alcohol a week was associated with smaller brain size.
This level of drinking was also linked to poorer performance on skills that involved recalling memorized words on demand.
The team says cutting down the amount people drink or giving it up altogether can reduce the risk of brain damage.
But this can only happen if people also maintain a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and exercise.
One author of the study is Laura Hokkanen.
The study is published in Scientific Reports.
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