Just 1 Drink a Day May Prematurely Age Your Brain

Just 1 Drink a Day May Prematurely Age Your Brain

Need another reason to switch to mocktails at happy hour? A new study suggests that even light or moderate drinking — just a few beers or glasses of wine a week — might pose risks to your brain.

The study included almost 37,000 healthy middle-aged adults in the United Kingdom who provided detailed genetic and medical information and underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of their brains. Scientists examined the relationship between participants’ drinking habits and the size and structure of their brains.

Researchers focused specifically how drinking might impact gray matter, the outer layer of brain tissue responsible for controlling emotions, movement, and memory; and white matter, the deeper layer of brain tissue that transmits messages essential for us to walk, talk, see, smell, and hear.

Even light drinking — roughly a half-pint of beer a day — was associated with overall reductions in brain volume, according to results of the study, published March 4 in Nature Communications.

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