It shows the possibility of 'drinking alcohol when the brain is small' instead of 'drinking the brain with alcohol'



Past studies have often shown a link between drinking alcohol and brain atrophy. However, a new study suggests a causal relationship that is the opposite of the past, that 'drinking alcohol causes the brain to atrophy', but 'because a certain part of the brain is small, so you start drinking alcohol'. It has been.

Convergent evidence for predispositional effects of brain gray matter volume on alcohol consumption --Biological Psychiatry

Which came first: Brain size or drinking propensity?

Associate Professor Ryan Bogdan, director of the University of Washington Brain Lab, who studies psychology and neurology, analyzed three different studies using images from brain scans. The three studies include a comparison of twin drinking habits, a long-term observation of the brain from childhood without alcohol consumption, and an analysis of gene expression using postmortem brain tissue.

'Our study presents some relevant evidence that there are genetic factors that cause both low gray matter and alcohol consumption,' said David Balanger, lead author of the paper. 'This finding does not deny the hypothesis that alcohol abuse reduces gray matter, but it does suggest that the amount of brain was low from the beginning. As a result, the amount of brain said,'Alcohol consumption. It can be used as a biological marker for genetic mutations associated with the tendency to become easier. '


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After analyzing three studies, Balanger and colleagues found that the amount of gray matter in two parts of the brain, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the insular cortex, was associated with alcohol consumption. These parts are involved in emotions, memory, rewards, cognitive control, and decision making. Analysis of brain scans from non-drinking childhood to drinking adult shows that there is a gene-related decrease in gray matter at these sites in future alcohol consumption, specifically In other words, it became a predictor of starting drinking when he was young.

Also, comparing brain scan images of twins with different drinking habits and non-twin siblings, it was shown that the pairs who drink more often have less gray matter than the pairs who drink less. it was done. Interestingly, even if one of the pair was a heavy drinker, both were shown to have low levels of gray matter. From this, researchers believe that low gray matter is not the result of alcohol consumption, but a vulnerability related to alcohol consumption.

In addition, a study of gene expression data in the human brain found that the genetic risk of alcohol consumption was more associated with gene expression in the dorsolateral prefrontal area than in other parts of the brain. From these, researchers conclude that low gray matter in the prefrontal cortex may be due to the genetic risk of alcohol consumption.

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Researchers said, 'Along with the findings that alcohol consumption causes a decrease in gray matter, our data show that low genetic gray matter at specific sites may promote alcohol consumption from a young age. This can accelerate the atrophy of the brain in certain or other areas. '

in Science, Posted by logq_fa