In big ‘uh oh spaghetti-o’ news, it turns out there is no safe amount of alcohol consumption for the brain. I repeat: None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Zip. Nuthin. And even moderate drinking has an impact on nearly every part of the brain. Yikes.
Conducted in the UK, the study looked at 25,000 participants’ UK Biobank data, which is a database of half a million UK participants designed to help researchers discover why some people develop diseases and others do not, despite genetic or environmental factors.
We have to note, the study hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet, but it’s looking pretty legit… legit scary!
As lead author, Anya Topiwala, senior clinical lecturer at the University of Oxford, told The Guardian Australia:
There’s no threshold drinking for harm – any alcohol is worse. Pretty much the whole brain seems to be affected – not just specific areas, as previously thought.
Yep. Any alcohol. It doesn’t matter if you drink the best wine or the worst alcopop. So if you have snobbish beliefs that wine drinkers are smarter than others and in a higher socioeconomic realm, it’s because they already are, and it has nothing to do with the type of liquor they’re consuming. That liquor is eating at their brain, fair and square just like anyone else’s.
It’s all about volume, too, so the more you drink, the higher the association with lower grey matter density, with up to a 0.8% change in grey matter volume, no matter the individual’s biological or behavioural characteristics. And 0.8% is a larger contributor than any other behaviour-based risk factors – a whopping four times more than smoking or BMI. Oof, oof, and oof.
So there you have it. Once you know this information you can’t really un-know it. It will be interesting to see if this continues to spur the zero-alcohol drink trend onwards and upwards.