Alcohol and the brain

A recent article summarises what research shows about how alcohol affects the brain. The key points from the article are below:

  • While alcohol doesn’t ‘kill’ brain cells, it can damage them. Specifically, alcohol damages the dendrites of neurons – the connections that bring neurons information about the body. Damage in this area can affect learning and motor coordination
  • Other harms from alcohol consumption can affect the brain include:
    • Dehydration – which can lead to permanent damage
    • Dementia – though the risk of this is potentially limited to those with a certain form of a specific gene
    • Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome – caused by a thiamine deficiency from excessive alcohol consumption, symptoms can include mental confusion and unusual eye movements

Full article: Cashin-Garbutt A 2012  “Does alcohol kill brain cells?” , News Medical, July 9 2012 [accessed 20 July 2012]