Moderate drinking linked to brain changes and cognitive decl
Consumption of seven or more units of alcohol per week is associated with higher iron levels in the brain, according to a study of almost 21,000 people. Iron accumulation in the brain has been linked with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and is a potential mechanism for alcohol-related cognitive decline. Participants' mean age was 55 years old and 48.6% were female. Although 2.7% classed themselves as non-drinkers, the average intake was around 18 units per week, which translates to about 7½ cans of beer or six large glasses of wine. The team found that alcohol consumption above seven units per week was associated with markers of higher iron in the basal ganglia, a group of brain regions associated with control of motor movements, procedural learning, eye movement, cognition, emotion, and more. Iron accumulation in some brain regions was associated with worse cognitive function.