London: Study says that there is no such thing as a safe level of drinking, with increased consumption of alcohol-associated with poorer brain health.
Researchers from the University of Oxford studied the relationship between the self-reported alcohol intake of some 25,000 people in the UK and their brain scans.
Senior Clinical Researcher at Oxford, Anya Topiwala said that drinking had an effect on the brain's gray matter - regions in the brain that make up important bits where information is processed.
She explained that the more people drank, the less the volume of their gray matter. Brain volume reduces with age and more severely with dementia. Smaller brain volume also predicts worse performance on memory testing.
"Whilst alcohol only made a small contribution to this (0.8%), it was a greater contribution than other 'modifiable' risk factors, modifiable risk factors are ones you can do something about, in contrast to aging," she added.
As per the sources, the team also investigated whether certain drinking patterns, beverage types, and other health conditions made a difference to the impact of alcohol on brain health. They found that there was no safe level of drinking, which means consuming any amount of alcohol was worse than not drinking it. They also found no evidence that the type of drink such as wine or beer affected the harm done to the brain.
Researchers said that certain characteristics, such as high blood pressure, obesity, or binge drinking, could put people at higher risk.
"So many people drink 'moderately,' and think this is either harmless or even protective. As we have yet to find a 'cure' for neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, knowing about factors that can prevent brain harm is important for public health," Topiwala said. Also Read[Shaking head to remove water from ears causes brain damage]
It is to be mentioned that previous studies have found that there's no amount of liquor, wine or beer that is safe for anyone's health.
According to a study in 2018, alcohol was the leading risk factor for disease and premature death in men and women between the ages of 15 and 49 worldwide in 2016, accounting for nearly one in 10 deaths.
Sadie Boniface, head of research at the UK's Institute of Alcohol Studies, said that people should not forget that alcohol affects all parts of the body and there are multiple health risks.
Another researcher Tony Rao, visiting clinical fellow in Old Age Psychiatry at King's College London, said that subtle changes which demonstrate damage to the brain can present in ways that are not immediately detectable on routine testing of intellectual function and can progress unchecked until they present with more noticeable changes in memory.
"Even at levels of low-risk drinking, there is evidence that alcohol consumption plays a larger role in damage to the brain than previously thought. The (Oxford) study found that this role was greater than many other modifiable risk factors, such as smoking. The interaction with high blood pressure and obesity on increasing the damage done by alcohol to the brain emphasizes the wider role of diet and lifestyle in maintaining brain health," he added.
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