Alcohol consumption can decrease the number of new brain cells by up to 40%

Alcohol consumption can decrease the number of new brain cells by up to 40%

University researchers found that binge drinking can decrease the making of adult brain cells by as much as 40%. 

Even worse, long term learning can be affected without you realising it.

Alongside Miriam Nokia from the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland, they discovered that at about 3-4 drinks for women and five drinks for men – the number of nerve cells in the hippocampus of the brain were reduced by nearly 40% compared to those in the abstinent group of rodents.  The hippocampus is a part of the brain where new neurons are created and is necessary for some types of new learning. 

Anderson said “Moderate drinking can become binge drinking without the person realizing it.  In the short term there may not be any noticeable motor skills or overall functioning problems, but in the long term this type of behavior could have an adverse effect on learning and memory.  If this area of your brain was affected every day over many months and years, eventually you might not be able to learn how to get somewhere new or to learn something new about your life.  It’s something that you might not even be aware is occurring.  This research indicates that social or daily drinking may be more harmful to brain health than what is now believed by the general public”.

Study by Megan Anderson, a graduate fellow in the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, working with Professor Tracey J. Shors, in Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience in the Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, as published in the journal Neuroscience on November 8, 2012. 

Posted: Friday 14 December 2012

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