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Healthy Living: New study shows even moderate alcohol can have negative impact on brain

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New study shows even moderate alcohol can have negative impact on brain New study shows even moderate alcohol can have negative impact on brain

Some disturbing news for those who enjoy a daily libation with dinner. Most of us are familiar with previous research that indicates drinking in moderation can be beneficial to our health.

The Mediterranean Diet, with many proven benefits, allows for a daily glass of wine.

But a new study suggests even moderate drinking can pose risks, especially with the brain.

Moderate drinking can produce changes in the brain, according to a just-published study in the British Medical Journal.

Researchers examined 30 years of data from 550 British civil servants. They looked at weekly alcohol consumption and the results of brain function tests and MRI's. 

Scientists found that people who drank the most — defined as two or more drinks a day — had the highest risk of hippocampal atrophy, a form of brain damage.

Hippocampal atrophy effects spatial navigation and can be associated with memory loss conditions like Alzheimer's and Dementia.

Their language skills also declined and they had what scientists described as poorer integrity of the white matter in the brain, which affects the ability to process thoughts quickly.

Most significantly, the study found that moderate drinkers — people who have one drink daily — also had a high risk of hippocampal atrophy.

They were three times more likely to have the condition than non-drinkers.

Scientists noted that the study didn't provide direct evidence of negative cognitive effects and said more research needs to be done.

The study's authors want to try to replicate the results with a more diverse population.

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