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Behavior Brain and Mental Performance

Alcohol shrinks brain

13 years, 11 months ago

7333  0
Posted on Oct 16, 2008, 7 a.m. By Rich Hurd

New research has shown that people who drink a lot of alcohol have smaller brains.

New research has shown that people who drink a lot of alcohol have smaller brains.

Carol Ann Paul and colleagues studied data obtained from 1,839 adults who took part in the Framingham Offspring Study to examine the association between total cerebral brain volume (TCBV) and 5 categories of alcohol consumption (abstainers, former drinkers, low, moderate, high).

Analysis of the data led the researchers to discover a “significant negative linear relationship between alcohol consumption and total cerebral brain volume.” In other words, the more a person drinks the smaller his or her brain volume, thus suggesting that alcohol consumption shrinks the brain.

Results also showed that the association between alcohol consumption and brain volume was greater in women than in men. The researchers suspect that this could be due to the fact that women are generally more susceptible to the effects of alcohol than men.

The researchers conclude: "The public health effect of this study gives a clear message about the possible dangers of drinking alcohol. Prospective longitudinal studies are needed to confirm these results as well as to determine whether there are any functional consequences associated with increasing alcohol consumption. This study suggests that, unlike the associations with cardiovascular disease, alcohol consumption does not have any protective effect on brain volume."

Paul CA, Au R, Fredman L, Massaro JM, Seshadri S, DeCarli C, Wolf PA. Association of Alcohol Consumption With Brain Volume in the Framingham Study. Arch Neurol. 2008;65:1363-1367.


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