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Even low doses of alcohol can shrink the brain

 
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johnsocal



Joined: 26 Mar 2005

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:45 pm    Post subject: Even low doses of alcohol can shrink the brain Reply with quote

Shocked Please read the entire article @ http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/diet.fitness/10/14/healthmag.alcohol.brain.shrinkage/index.html

Quote:
Overall, the more alcohol consumed, the smaller the brain volume, with abstainers having a higher brain volume than former drinkers, light drinkers (one to seven drinks per week), moderate drinkers (eight to 14 drinks per week), and heavy drinkers (14 or more drinks per week).

Quote:
"We always knew that alcohol at higher dosages results in shrinking of the brain and cognitive deficit," says Dr. Petros Levounis, M.D., director of the Addiction Institute of New York at St. Luke's -- Roosevelt Hospital Center, who was not involved in the study. "What is new with this article is that it shows brain shrinking at lower doses of alcohol."

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TurkGuy19
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Joined: 01 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still wont stop me from drinking.
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ZombieSolo
... eats you all. [zMOD]


Joined: 05 Feb 2005

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All this means is there' no real point to drinking in moderation if you plan to drink at all. Binge time baby!
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ThePlasticJedi
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Joined: 08 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I pretty much figured this was true anyways. Why sit at home worrying about how smart I am when I can drink so much that I forget my stupidity?
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dWhisper
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Joined: 25 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The article is basically summed up in this:

Quote:
However, the study did not demonstrate that the smaller brain volume actually impaired memory or mental function, notes James Garbutt, M.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

And the differences between brain volumes in drinkers and nondrinkers were quite small -- less than 1.5 percent between abstainers and heavy drinkers.

"We're talking very small differences here," says Dr. Garbutt, who was not involved in the study. "We're not seeing 10 to 20 percent shrinkage."


Beyond that, brain size and volume is a rudimentary indicator of intelligence, at best. There are far more factors that fit in, such as practice, education, upbringing, etc.

And, like Turk, in no way will get me to give up my beers.
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johnsocal



Joined: 26 Mar 2005

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dWhisper wrote:
There are far more factors that fit in, such as practice, education, upbringing, etc.


True, this is just one extra factor to add to the mix.
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dWhisper
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Except that they already noted that the associated shrink had no correlation to a loss of cognitive or motor skills, so it doesn't factor into intelligence in the slightest.
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DaZombie2007
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Joined: 04 Jan 2006

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dWhisper wrote:
The article is basically summed up in this:

Quote:
However, the study did not demonstrate that the smaller brain volume actually impaired memory or mental function, notes James Garbutt, M.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

And the differences between brain volumes in drinkers and nondrinkers were quite small -- less than 1.5 percent between abstainers and heavy drinkers.

"We're talking very small differences here," says Dr. Garbutt, who was not involved in the study. "We're not seeing 10 to 20 percent shrinkage."


Beyond that, brain size and volume is a rudimentary indicator of intelligence, at best. There are far more factors that fit in, such as practice, education, upbringing, etc.

And, like Turk, in no way will get me to give up my beers.


Totally agree with you, the article just talks about brain shrinkage, not memory impairment. Look at some of the most famous writers of all time Edgar Allen Poe, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Faulkner all these writers had drinking problems more so Poe and Hemingway, but they are considered brilliant. There are always exceptions, and when a person starts drinking their brains are more developed. The only real chance would be if a child drank, but how often do you see that?
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johnsocal



Joined: 26 Mar 2005

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dWhisper wrote:
Except that they already noted that the associated shrink had no correlation to a loss of cognitive or motor skills, so it doesn't factor into intelligence in the slightest.


I think it's a little premature for you to state that it's not a factor.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/diet.fitness/10/14/healthmag.alcohol.brain.shrinkage/index.html

Quote:
"We always knew that alcohol at higher dosages results in shrinking of the brain and cognitive deficit," says Dr. Petros Levounis, M.D., director of the Addiction Institute of New York at St. Luke's -- Roosevelt Hospital Center


Years of drinking could have unintended consequences when a person gets older. While the report below is not about alcohol intake, there is a direct relation between brain shrinkage and memory/concentration loss.

http://ukpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5i0mNei89YGDxrbiL1hXKGS9yvd4w

Quote:

Brain shrink link to memory lapses
Oct 6, 2008

Occasional memory lapses such as forgetting the name of a friend may be symptoms of a shrinking brain, researchers have found.

Scans revealed that a brain area linked to memory is smaller in people whose ability to remember or concentrate fails them now and then.
Scientists studied 500 people aged 50 to 85 living in the Netherlands who were not suffering from dementia.

Volunteers were asked about sporadic memory problems like struggling to find the right word, or forgetting a friend's name or things that happened in the last day or two. They were also asked if they had problems concentrating or thinking quickly.

A high proportion of 453 participants reported having occasional memory or thinking problems, which would not show up on regular tests of cognitive skills.

Brain scans showed that the hippocampus was smaller in people who had memory problems than in people who did not.

The average volume of the brain region in the two groups was 6.7 millilitres and 7.1 millilitres respectively.

The hippocampus is one of the first parts of the brain to be damaged by Alzheimer's disease.

Study leader Dr Frank-Erik de Leeuw, from Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands, said: "These occasional, subjective memory complaints could be the earliest sign of problems with memory and thinking skills and we were able to discover that these subjective memory complaints were linked to smaller brain volumes.

"Because occasional memory lapses were so common, though, much more work needs to be done to use such complaints diagnostically."

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Last edited by johnsocal on Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:00 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Padawan716
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Joined: 04 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At higher dosages. I wouldn't consider light drinking a "higher dosage".
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KungZombie
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Joined: 06 Feb 2005
Location: Tucson, Arizona

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dWhisper wrote:
The article is basically summed up in this:

Quote:
However, the study did not demonstrate that the smaller brain volume actually impaired memory or mental function, notes James Garbutt, M.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

And the differences between brain volumes in drinkers and nondrinkers were quite small -- less than 1.5 percent between abstainers and heavy drinkers.

"We're talking very small differences here," says Dr. Garbutt, who was not involved in the study. "We're not seeing 10 to 20 percent shrinkage."


Beyond that, brain size and volume is a rudimentary indicator of intelligence, at best. There are far more factors that fit in, such as practice, education, upbringing, etc.

And, like Turk, in no way will get me to give up my beers.

Since I guess John missed it the first time.

It looks like the results John's referring to are a different study -- specifically, the size of the hippocampus in the brain, not the entire brain itself. Furthermore, that study involves >5% shrinkage of the hippocampus, whereas the shrinkage observed in the first study was less than 1.5%. And in men, only the heavy drinkers even reliably showed that much difference compared to non-drinkers.

Also, the first article says that brains naturally shrink as they age, about 2% per decade. If the extra shrinkage due to heavy alcohol consumption is 1.5%, then drinking heavily has essentially the effect of aging your brain about seven years. Shocked

EVERYBODY PANIC
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ThePlasticJedi
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Joined: 08 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry, I couldn't make it through this thread, I think my brain shrunk. I just wanted to say that I'm not giving up drinking either, and will crash glasses with anyone here anytime. Just be sure to give me lengthy instructions, I've lost my sense of direction.
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johnsocal



Joined: 26 Mar 2005

PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
EVERYBODY PANIC


Panic if you like, but that wasn't my intent. While the research in this field is still in it's early phases, it is interesting nevertheless.

At this point I would neither panic or dismiss it, but just be mindful about the possibility.
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