O A new study published in the journal Nature and cited by the journal Metropoles, points out that middle-aged people who drink two 500ml cans of beer, or one glass of wine a day, have brains up to two years old and six months older, compared to those who do not drink alcohol.
For the purposes of this research, the scientists analyzed data from 36,678 adults aged 40 to 69 registered in the UK Biobank, a British database.
The researchers compared the participants’ MRIs with information about their drinking habits.
Additionally, volunteers reported the number of “drink units” consumed each week for frequent drinkers; or units per month for less frequent drinkers. The drinks have been separated by categories, namely red wine, white wine/champagne and beer/cider.
By analyzing magnetic resonance images, explains the journal Metropoles, the researchers compared the volume of gray and white matter in the brains of individuals who drank alcohol with those who abstained from the substance.
Gray matter is the area of the brain where information is processed, and white matter maintains communication pathways.
Therefore, alcohol consumption was associated with a generalized decrease in brain volume.
“It gets worse the more you drink. There is evidence that the effect of alcohol consumption on the brain is exponential,” Remi Daviet, one of the study’s lead authors, said in a statement.
“Having this dataset is like having a microscope or a telescope with a more powerful lens. You get better resolution and you start to see patterns and associations that we couldn’t see before,” said the neuroscientist and co-author of Gideonship research.