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Only one to two drinks daily may lead to brain shrinkage and neuronal loss
USA: The unfavorable correlations between alcohol use and brain microstructure and macrostructure are already visible in those who consume one to two units of alcohol per day on average, and they get stronger as alcohol consumption increases, says an article published in Nature Communications.Heavy alcohol use has been linked to brain shrinkage, neuronal loss, and decreased white matter...
USA: The unfavorable correlations between alcohol use and brain microstructure and macrostructure are already visible in those who consume one to two units of alcohol per day on average, and they get stronger as alcohol consumption increases, says an article published in Nature Communications.
Heavy alcohol use has been linked to brain shrinkage, neuronal loss, and decreased white matter fiber integrity. However, there are contradictory data on whether light-to-moderate alcohol intake has the same deleterious effects on brain anatomy.
In this study, Remi Daviet and team investigated the relationships between alcohol use and brain anatomy using multimodal imaging data from 36,678 usually healthy middle-aged and older persons from the UK Biobank, while adjusting for a variety of possible confounders.
The results of this study state as follow:
1. This study reported a multimodal brain imaging investigation of 36,678 middle-aged and older European ancestry people, a population sample whose reported alcohol use ranged from low (i.e., 1–2 alcohol units per day) to high (i.e., more than 4 alcohol units per day).
2. The data's volume and granularity give enough statistical power to find modest relationships while accounting for significant potential confounds.
3. Alcohol consumption was shown to have a negative connection with global gray and white matter measurements, regional gray matter volume (GMV), and white matter (WM) microstructure indices.
4. The correlations shown here are found all across the brain, and their amplitude rises with the average absolute amount of daily alcohol units ingested.
5. The unfavorable relationships reported with global IDPs are noticeable in those who drink between 1 and 2 units of alcohol per day. Thus, in the United Kingdom, taking merely one alcoholic drink per day (or two units of alcohol) may be linked to alterations in GMV and WMV in the brain.
In conclusion, alcohol use is linked to WM microstructural changes in various WM tract areas that connect large-scale networks and deeper WM systems. The majority of these unfavorable connections are visible in those who drink one to two units of alcohol each day on average. As a result, our multimodal imaging study emphasizes the possibility that even moderate drinking is connected with changes in brain volume in middle-aged and older persons.
Daviet, R., Aydogan, G., Jagannathan, K. et al. Associations between alcohol consumption and gray and white matter volumes in the UK Biobank. Nat Commun 13, 1175 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-28735-5
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