See How A Pint Of Beer Or Glass Of Wine Affects Your Brain

Just one pint of beer or glass of wine a day, on average, may begin to shrink the overall volume of the brain, a new study found, and the damage worsens as the number of daily drinks rises.

On average, 50-year-olds who drank a pint of beer or 6-ounce glass of wine (two alcohol units) a day in the past month had brains that appeared two years older than those who drank only half of a beer (one unit), according to the research.

The brains of people that age who said they drank three alcohol units a day had reductions in both white and gray matter that looked as if they had added 3.5 years to the ages of their brains. And four alcohol units a day aged a person’s brain by more than 10 years.

“It’s not linear. It gets worse the more you drink,” first author Remi Daviet, an assistant professor of marketing in the Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a statement.

The study found that the brains of nondrinkers who began drinking an average of one alcohol unit a day showed the equivalent of a half a year of aging.

However, “a problem in this study is that they only have information on people’s drinking habits for the one year prior to the (brain) imaging,” noted Emmanuela Gakidou, a professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington who was not involved in the study.

“I think this is a major limitation of the study, as it’s likely that the cumulative consumption of alcohol throughout one’s lifetime is associated with the brain, not just the level of consumption right before the images were taken,” she added.

“The relationship between alcohol and health is complex, and our understanding of that relationship is evolving over time. Based on this study, I would not really draw any definitive conclusions, but I would say that the authors have identified areas for further research.”

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