Metal rust appears on the brain: discouraging data on the effects of alcohol have been published

Any amount of alcohol in people under 40 years of age significantly increases the risk of serious diseases.

Any amount of alcohol in people under 40 years of age significantly increases the risk of serious diseases.

A photo: Dmitry Akhmadullin

Scientists at the University of Washington in Seattle analyzed data for 2020 for a billion (!) people from 15 to 94 years old from 204 countries. According to their data, 1.34 billion people abused alcohol in 2020: 1.02 billion of them were men and 312 million were women. No wonder – what else was there to do when the world was mired in covid lockdowns?..

Study publishes expert journal Lancet.

Scientists have studied the risk of alcohol consumption and various injuries, including road accidents, and other health risks – the risk of developing cancer, for example, and cardiovascular disease.

Data analysis showed interesting, albeit quite expected things: any amount of alcohol in people under 40 increases all risks at times. Men in this category account for 60 percent of alcohol-related injuries (accidents, homicides and suicides under the influence of alcohol). That is, it is better for young people not to use it at all, the scientists concluded.

But after 40 years, a small amount of alcohol does not harm people who do not have chronic diseases. And it can even bring a small benefit – for example, reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, coronary disease, strokes. A small one is one glass of spirits or a glass of red wine no more than once a day. True, scientists have not studied the quantitative relationship. That is, the behavior and health of those who drank a glass a day and a bottle were not compared. Well, the volume of drinking was reported by the respondents themselves, which, of course, can lead to errors in the calculations.


Portuguese scientists were interested in how beer affects the health of the intestines – it is known that the microbiota, that is, the beneficial bacteria that live there, have a very beneficial effect on the immune system. How do they react to beer?

It turned out very not bad, provided that they are given no more than 300-330 ml at a time. Moreover, beneficial bacteria perceive both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer equally positively (begin to multiply).

And if there is no difference, then why do we need alcohol?


Another interesting study conducted by scientists at Oxford University: they tracked the relationship between alcohol and the accumulation of excess iron in the brain. A large amount of iron, by the way, is blamed for neurodegenerative diseases – they are observed in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

And so the scientists asked themselves the question – are the cognitive functions of alcohol abusers impaired due to iron deposits? And we found out – well, yes! An MRI clearly showed the relationship: the more iron there was in certain lobes of the brain, the worse people coped with tasks on quick wits. More than 20 thousand people were examined, who consumed more than 7 doses (one dose – 50 grams of strong alcohol) per week.

Again, the study did not note whether the changes were worse or better if the person drank, say, 35 drinks or 8.

By the way, two years ago, Finnish scientists from the University of Helsinki figured outthat even 14 units of alcohol per week (that is, two drinks a day or in bulk 5-6 on the weekend) contributes to the fact that the brain “dries out”. In the literal sense of the word. In general, the brain gets smaller with age, but alcohol speeds up this process. Moreover, the frontal lobe, which is responsible for our ingenuity, socialization, and, in general, almost everything that makes us human, decreases most of all. True, there is good news – the process, of course, is not reversible, but the decrease in the brain stops if a person gives up a bad habit. And even after six weeks, the difference is noticeable: those who continue to drink lose more “brains” than those who stop.

So the fact remains: the more you drink, the worse the brain.


Psychiatrist-narcologist Alexey Magalif: “For us there is no concept of a “safe” dose, our people only hear that they were allowed to drink”

“The 21st century has given us a lot of powerful research on the work of the brain, we have learned to see and understand those things that were not available 50 years ago,” says psychiatrist-psychotherapist, doctor with 30 years of experience Alexei Magalif. – And many of them relate to alcohol and its effects not only on the body as a whole, but also on the brain. I completely agree that alcohol is very destructive for young people: our brain, and its frontal lobes, are first formed until about 16 and continue to develop until 25 years. At this time, any exposure to psychoactive substances is destructive for them. It’s about drugs and alcohol. At a time when the psyche of a teenager is not yet formed, substances with a narcotic effect make him more self-confident and happier. And very quickly cause not only dependence, but also changes in the neocortex – the prefrontal zone of the brain, those very frontal lobes. And these changes lead to the degradation of thinking, the loss of cognitive skills – the speed of memorization, for example.

– Now many will object to you: oh, who didn’t drink as a student! And nothing, learned, grew up, not fools.

– You simply have not met emotionally unstable people who easily fall into euphoria, then go into a bad mood. Drinking alcohol, they quickly lose quantitative control. And therefore addiction and change in the psyche, behavior occurs very quickly. Yes, while a person is young, if he refuses a bad habit, the changes can be reversible (depending on age and length of use). But the further, the worse. And any dependence forms irresponsibility, including to one’s own health, relationships with other people. Therefore, alcoholics with experience do not know how to stop.

– But many of us, let’s say, drink “for health” – a glass in the evening or a couple of glasses on the weekend. It won’t do any harm. So scientists from different countries say that a safe dose can only be beneficial.

– The problem is that the belief “I don’t drink – I relieve stress” or one glass does not hurt is the most difficult option. I call it the neurotic variant of alcohol addiction. Often a person who drinks something “for stress” does not even feel, does not notice the taste of alcohol. They simply swallow a glass or a glass of wine, beer, because it is easier for him to fall asleep, to drive thoughts out of his head. They don’t even realize it’s an addiction.

It doesn’t matter when it happens – one drink every day and five drinks on Friday. All this is addiction. And, unfortunately, it is not in our mentality to appreciate good wines or cognacs, to savor them in a good mood, in good company, and not from stress alone in front of the TV. Therefore, any study on the benefits of the minimum dose of alcohol will be perceived by most Russians as a signal: “Oh, we were allowed for health! You have to drink to that!”

And, alas, few people understand that they have chosen the wrong remedy for a bad mood. Alcohol is not an antidepressant, but just a depressant. Remember – the brain is injured from it! It is unlikely that this thought will help relieve stress.

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