Alcohol's Detrimental Impact on the Brain Explained?
Iron accumulation in the brain as a result of alcohol consumption may explain why even moderate drinking is linked to compromised cognitive function. Results of a large observational study suggest brain iron accumulation is a "plausible pathway" through which alcohol negatively affects cognition, study Anya Topiwala, MD, PhD, senior clinical researcher, Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, Oxford, England, told Medscape Medical News.
@simon Previous research suggests higher brain iron may be involved in the pathophysiology of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. However, it's unclear whether deposition plays a role in alcohol's effect on the brain and if it does, whether this could present an opportunity for early intervention with, for example, chelating agents. The study included 20,729 participants in the UK Biobank study, which recruited volunteers from 2006 to 2010. Participants had a mean age of 54.8 years, and 48.6% were female. Participants self-identified as current, never, or previous alcohol consumers. For current drinkers, researchers calculated the total weekly number of UK units of alcohol consumed. One unit is 8 grams. A standard drink in the US is 14 grams. They categorized weekly consumption into quintiles and used the lowest quintile as the reference category.