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Longevity Briefs: Even small amounts of alcohol intake, and smoking accelerates brain aging

Posted on 5 October 2020

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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: Aging usually causes lower grey matter volume and density in our brains. It is known that certain lifestyles accelerate aging, speeding up grey matter deterioration (such as unbalanced diet, little exercise, smoking, alcohol intake, etc.) It is also a widespread fact that genetic factor heavily influences brain aging. There is a possibility that genetic and environmental factors influence each other, so better understanding is needed.

What did the researchers do: In this article, researches have used machine learning to driver biomarker called predicted brain age (which is different from chronological age, depending on different factors) from brain imaging data. Then they have analysed data from 17,308 subjects and searched for the association of predicted brain age with smoking, alcohol intake and genetic variants.

Key takeaway(s) from this research: Researchers showed that smoking a pack of cigarettes can aged your brain by approximately 11 days. While consuming a gram of alcohol accelerated your brain aging by 7 days.

Patients with higher predicated brain age performed worse in cognitive functions tests. Higher predicted brain age was also observed in patients who smoke and drink alcohol daily/very frequently. Mutations in MAPT gene are also associated with higher predicted brain age.

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