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Scientists Conduct a Study Claiming That Any Amount of Alcohol Intake Leads to Poor Brain Health

Junie Sihlangu
May 29, 2021
05:00 P.M.
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Scientists from the University of Oxford have recently found that as long as one consumes alcohol, there’s a chance that you’re damaging your brain health irrespective of consumption levels.


We generally know that alcohol can be bad for our health, but we’ve all lived with the assumption that if we have it moderately, the effects won’t be that bad – until recently.

The University of Oxford conducted a new observational study where their findings have left many shocked. They found something that should change the way we see drinking alcohol.

A tattooed man sitting alone having a drink | Photo: Pixabay/StockSnap


Scientists from the university discovered that there was no level of alcohol consumption that was considered "safe" for one’s brain health. Basically, whatever amount of alcohol you have damages your brain.

The study, however, hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed. It involved scientists looking at the amount of gray matter in their brain scans of about 25,000 UK residents that self-reported their alcohol consumption.

A drunk man lying on a table sleeping while holding on to an alcohol bottle | Photo: Pixabay/Michal Jarmoluk


It was ultimately determined that drinking alcohol "was linearly negatively associated with global brain gray matter volume." This means drinking small amounts of alcohol still created less gray matter.

Anya Topiwala, the lead author and senior clinical researcher at Oxford, explained that gray matter was the stuff in the brain that processed all the information. Dead gray matter has a terrible effect on a person.

Two hands clinking beer bottle with a sunset in the background | Photo: Pixabay/Free-Photos


Topiwala shared how dead gray matter volumes could lead to people performing worse when it came to memory testing. This was something that usually happened naturally as we age.

According to the study, people who have high blood pressure, binge drink, or have a high body mass index (BMI) were more badly affected by alcohol. There’s no difference between drinking beer, wine, or liquor.

A scientist wearing their work scrubs while looking through a microscope | Photo: Pixabay/luvqs


Topiwala noted how people would drink “moderately” to assume that this was a protective measure or even harmless, but this wasn’t true. The study gives guidance on how to handle neurodegenerative diseases.

For instance, knowing what we know now about alcohol consumption means one can take steps to prevent further brain harm to lessen the effects of diseases like dementia.

A table decked out with red and white wine, a barrel, and some grapes | Photo: by Pixabay/Photo Mix


Topiwala noted how brain volume reduced with age, and it was more severe with dementia. According to a 2018 study published in “The Lancet,” alcohol was the leading risk factor for premature death and disease.

This was concentrated on women and men aged between 15 and 49 worldwide in 2016, with nearly one in ten deaths. For all ages, alcohol was associated with 2.8 million deaths that year.