Alcohol Consumption and Brain Health

redwineApparently, even one glass of red-wine now is out. For those of us who are caring for or who have cared for someone with dementia, brain health is more than a casual interest. At least, it is for me.

A story in the Health Section of The Washington Post shared the results of a study from BMJ reporting that Even moderate drinking is linked to pathological changes in the brain.  The words they used were atrophy. Now that doesn’t sound good at all. The report tracked 550 adults for 30 years and found that testing showed that people who drank the most during the three decades had a faster and greater decline in cognitive functioning than those who consumed less alcohol.

The only caveat I saw that made me hopeful was that the study only included men (however that still impacts many people I love). The outcome was that the study basically drew the line between someone who drinks and someone that doesn’t. One 12-ounce beer, one five-ounce glass of wine, or one 1.5-ounce drink of 80-proof liquor. One.

This is a topic that interests me as well as many older adults. What are you doing to have better brain health?

I focus on the biggies: Physical exercise, nutrition, sleep, as well as challenging my brain with new activities. I am also now very afraid to ever “retire” and tell myself that I will work in some form until I can no longer contribute. This is a question I repeatedly am asked and will spend a few blogs over the summer sharing the research behind what you can do.

Please reach out if you have found some data to suggest something that has a positive impact on our brain health. Asked. 

10 thoughts on “Alcohol Consumption and Brain Health

  1. Not happy news but important to know about it. It makes common sense. I won’t give all wine up but I think this will make it less casual for me. Thank you.

  2. Honestly, it depends what you’re reading:

    Personally, I stopped drinking completely 3 years ago. I probably have 3 glasses of wine a year. I follow the Mediterranean diet and exercise 4x a week, both of which have shown, in multiple studies, to improve hippocampal volume and reduce even genetic risk for dementia. I come from an extremely high risk gene pool and this gives me hope. In the end, if the monster wants you, gonna get you. Focussing on reducing stress is key.

    1. LOVE “If the monster wants you” and will find a way to share that and credit you! I have seen many red wine is good for you and several doctors say the same thing so this new study surprised me.

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