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posted by on Saturday June 10 2017, @04:39AM   Printer-friendly
from the sorry-ethanol-fueled dept.

Alcohol consumption, even at moderate levels, is associated with increased risk of adverse brain outcomes and steeper decline in cognitive (mental) skills, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

These results support the recent reduction in alcohol guidance in the UK and raise questions about the current limits recommended in the US, say the authors.

[...] Several factors that could have influenced the results (known as confounding) were taken into account, such as age, sex, education, social class, physical and social activity, smoking, stroke risk and medical history.

After adjusting for these confounders, the researchers found that higher alcohol consumption over the 30 year study period was associated with increased risk of hippocampal atrophy -- a form of brain damage that affects memory and spatial navigation.

-- submitted from IRC

Anya Topiwala, Charlotte L Allan, et al. Moderate alcohol consumption as risk factor for adverse brain outcomes and cognitive decline: longitudinal cohort study. BMJ, 2017; j2353 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.j2353


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @05:28AM (14 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @05:28AM (#523397)

    From TFA:
    "While those consuming over 30 units a week were at the highest risk compared with abstainers, even those drinking moderately (14-21 units per week) were three times more likely to have hippocampal atrophy compared with abstainers.

    There was no protective effect of light drinking (up to 7 units per week) over abstinence."

    What is a "unit" in this context?

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @05:35AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @05:35AM (#523400)

    https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/alcoholic-drinks-units/what-is-an-alcohol-unit/ [drinkaware.co.uk]

    One unit is 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol. Because alcoholic drinks come in different strengths and sizes, units are a way to tell how strong your drink is.

    https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/media/1116/1-alcohol-unit-new-guidelines-v1-2.png [drinkaware.co.uk]

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Saturday June 10 2017, @05:41AM

    by c0lo (156) on Saturday June 10 2017, @05:41AM (#523401) Journal

    What is a "unit" in this context?

    BMJ article [bmj.com] Introduction

    Alcohol use is widespread and increasing across the developed world. It has historically been viewed as harmless in moderation, defined variably from 9-18 units (72-144 g) a week. Recent evidence of associations with risk of cancer has prompted revision of UK government alcohol guidance, though US Federal Dietary guidelines (2015-20) allow up to 24.5 units a week for men. Even light drinking (midpoint <12.5g daily/8 units a week) has been associated with increased risk of oropharnygeal, oesophageal, and breast cancer

    Working out the division leads to 1unit=8g of alcohol.

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @05:45AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @05:45AM (#523402)
  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @05:53AM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @05:53AM (#523404)

    SoylentNews should like totally accept donations in alcohol units!!!!

    Fuck SN Fuck SN Fuck SN Fuck SN Fuck SN Fuck SN Fuck SN Fuck SN Fuck SN nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @06:12AM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @06:12AM (#523407)

      I shrug to think of what an ethanol-powered SN would look like.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Azuma Hazuki on Saturday June 10 2017, @06:59AM

        by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Saturday June 10 2017, @06:59AM (#523422) Journal

        Pretty much like the post you replied to.

        --
        I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
      • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Saturday June 10 2017, @01:36PM

        by Thexalon (636) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 10 2017, @01:36PM (#523482)

        Pretty much like SN now, thanks to Ethanol-Fueled [soylentnews.org].

        --
        The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @05:14PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @05:14PM (#523519)

      Apparently some SN admin let his toe cross the line:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vB9U2hx6Qg [youtube.com]
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0kfe5tkdD4 [youtube.com]

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @07:03AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @07:03AM (#523423)

    I wondered the same thing, here it is:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_of_alcohol [wikipedia.org]

    What the authors call "moderate alcohol consumption" (14-21 units per week, i.e. 2-3 units per day) means drinking one bottle of beer or one glass of wine every day.
    I personally wouldn’t have called that moderate, so your question was important, I think.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @08:04AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @08:04AM (#523430)

      I think most people who drink can easily exceed that. 12 units in one day? No problem. 30+ units a week.

      The unit needs to be equivalent to a 12 oz 5% beer/cider, if not 16 oz. Although changing the unit doesn't change the health risks, just could make teaching people about the risks easier.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by pTamok on Saturday June 10 2017, @09:14AM (1 child)

      by pTamok (3042) on Saturday June 10 2017, @09:14AM (#523439)

      Moderate drinking is culturally determined. From my perspective, Americans who have just one beer of an evening when they go out for 'a drink' are weird - but I grew up in a culture where going out for 'a drink' meant drinking several pints with companions. Similarly, in other countries, drinking a couple of glasses of red wine with the main meal of the day, every day, was/is quite normal. To some Americans, this is verging on being an alcoholic.

      So 'moderate' is in fact a culturally loaded term. A unit, where I am, is 10 ml of ethanol, or 8g of ethanol. I think what the paper shows is that drinking ethanol affects long-term brain health, and the more you drink the greater the effect. i would be careful not to use a culrutally loaded term like 'moderate' in this context. It makes for good headlines, but is not informative.

      However, the interesting statistic is all-cause mortality. It's all very well that you can see signs of brain dysfunction in drinkers, but if the population of drinkers, in general, lives longer than non-drinkers, then ethanol might be protective in other areas. Concentrating on one disease will skew your perceptions. Now, it turns out that the latest research appears not to be commensurate with the idea that drinking a unit of ethanol a day is better than drinking none in terms of all-cause mortality, but it is not easy research to do as there are lots of confounders.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @09:22PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 10 2017, @09:22PM (#523594)

        Like most the other studies; it conflicts with future studies... not corrupt ones which do get put out there; but legit work shows the complexity involved. For example, what one EATS with the alcohol will impact how it acts on the body. Somebody doing a similar study may have different results by stumbling onto populations with different eating habits. It would totally make sense that drinking by itself is harmful while eating greasy fatty foods may make it harmless... actually it cuts the grease so and in doing so might counter the damage --- if given in the proper ratios. Finding such things is extremely difficult and creating a controlled environment to test this stuff is not possible (human experimentation.)

  • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Saturday June 10 2017, @09:25AM

    by MostCynical (2589) on Saturday June 10 2017, @09:25AM (#523441) Journal

    Not these:
    Unit (Australian Slang): flat, apartment
    http://www.slang-dictionary.org/australian-slang/Unit [slang-dictionary.org]

    And here are some you can buy: http://www.realestate.com.au/buy/property-unit+apartment-in-gold+coast,+qld/list-1 [realestate.com.au]

    --
    "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
  • (Score: 1) by i286NiNJA on Monday June 12 2017, @03:59PM

    by i286NiNJA (2768) on Monday June 12 2017, @03:59PM (#524455)

    I wonder how the military decided that 4 units a week or more meant you had a alcohol problem?