Oxford University researchers wanted to know if there is a common claim to healthy alcohol consumption. For the study, the researchers examined data from 550 healthy women and men with a mean age of 43 years. Participants had been interviewed between 1985 and 2015, inter alia, on their drinking behavior. At the end of the study, their brains were examined using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Even a glass of beer a day damages brain cells
The result: Even with a daily consumption of 0.5 liters of beer or 0.25 liters of wine (116 and 188 grams of alcohol per week), according to the study in the brain evidence of degeneration of nerve cells in the hippocampus can be detected. The hippocampus is a brain area that, among other things, is significantly involved in memory, emotional processing, and spatial orientation. The scientists have therefore not been able to find positive effects of moderate alcohol consumption.
In study participants with a consumption of more than 240 grams of alcohol per week, you can also see reduced speech and a slowed comprehension. In contrast, abstinent study participants showed no measurable abnormalities even after 30 years.
By their own admission, the scientists were surprised that they could find no signs of protective effects through moderate drinking. They point out that their results are based on a pure observational study. Even if all other risk factors for degenerative brain changes were calculated out of the study with great care, the results are no proof of a causal relationship between alcohol and negative brain changes.