By Ben Turner , Live Science, March 10, 2022
Just one pint of beer a day can make the brain look two years older.
Drinking even a single pint of beer or glass of wine a day shrinks the brain, and the effect worsens as the daily drinks increase, a new study of middle-age and older adults suggests.
The study, which surveyed over 36,000 U.K. middle-age and older adults, found that, on average, the brains of people who drank two alcoholic units a day — equivalent to a pint (16 ounces) of beer or a 6-ounce glass of wine — had shrunk to appear two years older than the brains of people who consumed none.
And the more drinks that people consumed, the larger the differences in their brains to those who drank none. The brains of people who drank three alcoholic units a day (equivalent to 8.5 ounces of wine) appeared 3.5 years older, and the brains of people who drank four units (just under half a standard bottle of wine) aged by 10 years, according to the study authors. The research, published March 4 in the journal Nature, is adds to a growing number of studies that have found any amount of drinking to be unhealthy, and especially damaging to cardiovascular and brain function.
“There is some evidence that the effect of drinking on the brain is exponential,” Remi Daviet, study first author and an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in a statement. “So, one additional drink in a day could have more of an impact than any of the previous drinks that day. That means that cutting back on that final drink of the night might have a big effect in terms of brain aging.”
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