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Saturday, December 7, 2013

SATURDAY REWIND: You don't have to be alcoholic for drinking to damage the brain

Alcoholic Dementia and "wet brain" are two terrifying outcomes from excessive drinking and the disease of alcoholism.  Everyone who drinks -- or who is looking for yet another good reason to quit -- might benefit from new science demonstrating other brain hazards. From the alcohol research news archive, even so-called social drinking cuts into the brain's long-term health.

A recent study indicates that even moderate drinking reduces the production of new brain cells by 40 percent. The November 8 journal Neuroscience reports the findings that seem to deal a blow to those who promote moderate drinking as good for the heart: It appears to compromise the brain.

Moderate drinking is defined as three or four drinks in a night. This level of drinking is approximately equal to a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08, the amount under which it is legal to operate a vehicle. The level of alcohol intake was not enough to impair the motor skills of the rats in the study, however, the decrease in the brain’s ability to create new cells could have profound effects on learning and memory later.

The study also tied its findings to binge drinking, not drinking the three or four in a night but making up for it on the weekend. Men who drink 14 drinks a week are considered at-risk drinkers. The number for women is 7 drinks per week.

The area of the brain that produces the neuron cells is the hippocampus, which is associated with learning and memory. Affecting this part of the brain might not be something you notice immediately, but over time, weekly drinking could have so dramatically reduced the neurons that learning or remembering things becomes more difficult.

Learning and memory difficulties are common in people with the disease of alcoholism. (Related: What's the difference between alcohol abuse, alcoholism?) The study indicates that people don’t have to be alcoholic to do damage to brain structures and that social drinking may be more harmful to people than is currently perceived by the general public.
-- from examiner.com (see full article)
www.alcohologist.com

Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud, plus the new radio interview replay is available at alcohologist.com... and please read the new interview with Scott Stevens at Christoph Fisher Books.  Mr. Fisher is an acclaimed international historical fiction novelist from the UK.