Scientists from Harvard University studied alcohol consumption and prevalence of sub-clinical abnormalities detected by magnetic resonance imaging of the brain among 3376 older adults enrolled in the Cardiovascular Health Study. They found that alcohol consumption was positively associated with measures of brain atrophy and inversely associated with sub-clinical infarcts in a dose-dependent manner. They conclude, “Alcohol consumption and white matter lesions had a U-shaped relationship, with the lowest prevalence among those who consumed 1-6 drinks per week. Further research is needed to determine how these associations interact to influence overall brain function.”
Reference: Mukamal KJ, Alcohol Consumption and Abnormalities of Brain Structure, American Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, Vol 13, No 1, 2004.