Wine is worse for the brain than beer, research finds
Sunday 16 March 2008
Drinking too much wine damages the brain more than beer or spirits, scientists have discovered.
New research on the long-term effects of heavy drinking shows that one area of the brains of wine drinkers was smaller than that of other people studied who drank different drinks in greater amounts.
The ground-breaking study shows that the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in memory, spatial tasks and many other functions, was more than 10 per cent smaller in those whose tipple was wine than in those who favoured beer.
Researchers say that alcohol alone may not account for the differences because the beer and spirit drinkers had greater lifetime consumption of alcohol; in the case of beer drinkers some had consumed twice as much alcohol as the wine lovers. One theory is that there may be something in beer that partially protects the brain from the damage caused by wine.
"This is the first study investigating the impact of the type of preferred beverage on brain-volume shrinkage in patients with alcohol dependence," said the team of psychiatrists who carried out the work.
The study, reported in the medical journal Alcohol & Alcoholism, saw researchers carry out detailed brain scans of men and women diagnosed with alcoholism and compared them with brain scans of healthy adults. The size of the hippocampus was largest in the healthy group – 3.85ml. In beer drinkers it was 3.4ml, while the average for spirit drinkers was 2.9ml, and for wine drinkers, 2.8ml.
The researchers, from Germany's Göttingen University, believe the findings may be linked to a compound in the blood called homocysteine, which other studies have shown is linked to higher risks of heart disease, strokes, brain atrophy and dementia.
Researchers found that beer drinkers had the lowest levels of the compound. One theory is that other ingredients of beer – B vitamins and folate – may break down homocysteine.
- 1 Exodus Gods and Kings casting controversy: Ridley Scott would never cast 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he'd killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler after death of Phil Hughes
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
£19000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to our clients continuing s...
£15000 - £16800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Tyre Technician / Mechanic is...
£26000 per annum: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Reading , Southend, Aldershot, Luto...
£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This forward-thinking agency works with ...