Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Moderate Alcohol Consumption Linked To Brain Shrinkage

Date:
December 5, 2003
Source:
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School Of Public Health
Summary:
A study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and other institutions found a link between low to moderate alcohol consumption and a decrease in the brain size of middle-aged adults.

A study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and other institutions found a link between low to moderate alcohol consumption and a decrease in the brain size of middle-aged adults. Brain atrophy is associated with impaired cognition and motor functions. The researchers also found that low or moderate consumption did not reduce the risk of stroke, which contradicts the findings of some previous studies. The study is published in the rapid access edition of Stroke: The Journal of the American Heart Association.

Related Articles


"Previous studies conducted with older adults found an association between heavy drinking, brain atrophy and an increased risk for stroke. We studied a younger, middle-aged population and found that low amounts of alcohol consumption are also associated with decreases in brain size," said Jingzhong Ding, PhD, lead author of the study and a research associate in the Department of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health. "Our findings do not support the hypothesis that low or moderate alcohol intake offers any protection against cerebral abnormalities or the risk of stroke in middle-aged adults."

For the study, Dr. Ding and his colleagues used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the brains of 1,909 men and women, age 55 and older. All were randomly selected from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. The MRI was used to access brain size and to detect infarcts and white matter lesions, which are changes in the brain associated with an increased risk for stroke. The researchers categorized the participant's drinking habits either as never drank, former drinker, occasional drinker (less than one drink per week), low drinker (one to six drinks per week) or moderate drinker (seven to 14 drinks per week).

The researchers found as alcohol consumption increased, the MRI detected increases in the ventricular and sulcal areas of the brain, which are spaces that do not contain brain tissue and an indication of brain atrophy. However, they found no consistent association between alcohol intake and the presence of infarctions or white matter lesions. Former drinkers and moderate drinkers were more likely to have infarctions compared to those who never drank without adjusting for other factors. After adjusting for factors such as smoking habits, body mass and income, the researchers found no reduction or protection in infarction associated with former drinkers or moderate drinkers. In addition, they did not find an association between alcohol intake and white matter lesions.

"Because MRI measures in the brain were only conducted once during follow up, a causal relationship between alcohol intake and brain atrophy is difficult to establish," explained Dr. Ding. "The strength of the study lies in the large population-based sample and the consistency of the findings by gender and race."

###

"Alcohol Intake and Cerebral Abnormalities on Magnetic Resonance Imaging in a Community-Based Population of Middle-aged Adults" was written by Jingzhong Ding, PhD; Marsha L. Eigenbrodt, MD; Thomas H. Mosley, Jr., PhD; Richard Hutchinson, MD; Aaron R. Folsom, MD; Tamara B. Harris, MD and F. Javier Nieto, MD, PhD.

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School Of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School Of Public Health. "Moderate Alcohol Consumption Linked To Brain Shrinkage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031205052952.htm>.
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School Of Public Health. (2003, December 5). Moderate Alcohol Consumption Linked To Brain Shrinkage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031205052952.htm
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School Of Public Health. "Moderate Alcohol Consumption Linked To Brain Shrinkage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031205052952.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins