Drinking heavy amounts of alcohol over a long period of time in May decreased brain volume, according to research that was presented at the American Academy of Neurology 59th Annual Meeting in Boston, 28 April - 5 May 2007. The study found that more people drink alcohol on a regular basis, the lowest volume of their brains.
"Research has shown a beneficial effect of alcohol in reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease in people who consume low to moderate amounts of alcohol. However, this study found that more of alcohol consumption is negatively correlated with brain volume, "said study author Carol Ann Paul, MS, of Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA.
This cross-sectional study of a people who had more than 14 drinks per week had an average of 1.6 per cent reduction in the ratio of brain volume to skull size compared to people who did not drink. In other words, the brain volume decreased 25 percent on average for every increase in drinking category (ie non-drinkers, former drinkers, low drinkers, moderate drinkers or high drinkers ).
In addition, Paul reported the inverse relationship between alcohol and brain volume was slightly higher among women than among men. Also, drinking heavy amounts of alcohol appears to have the greatest negative impact on brain volume of women 70 years.
Looking at the longitudinal effects of alcohol, those who were 12 years of history of alcohol had less brain volume than those that have changed in the high drinking group during these 12 years. Researchers on these results to ensure that these differences hold up.
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