Longevity Briefs: Moderate alcohol consumption is associated with decreased brain volume

Posted on 10 September 2020

Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.

Why is this research important: Negative effects of excessive drinking are well known. However, there is little research on how moderate consumption of alcohol affects our bodies in the long term. Previous studies mainly focused on elderly people, in whom a decrease in brain volume occurs naturally.

What did the researchers do: In this study, 353 participants among whom 289 had a history of birth risks and 64 were the control group, had been assessed by neurological and neuropsychological tests since their birth in a single hospital in Helsinki between 1971 and 1974. Investigations were conducted at 5, 9, 16, 30 and 39-45 years of age among the birth risk cohort and control participants.

Key takeaway(s) from this research: A higher alcohol consumption was associated with a smaller brain volume among moderate drinkers age 39 to 45 years, which suggest that process of aging is accelerated. Also, taking into account other systemic analysis studies on alcohol use, the level of consumption that minimizes health loss is zero.

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