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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Obesity and Alcohol: Brain Damage

It has long been known that alcohol has adverse affects on the human body; everyday scientists add to the list of ways alcohol is bad for you. Science allows us to view just how alcohol interacts with and damages the brain and the findings are not promising for those who consume alcohol. Those drinkers who are obese may be at a higher risk of brain damage from their drinking according to a new study. Obesity in heavy drinkers increases the severity of alcohol-related brain injury, HealthDay News reported Sept. 9.

54 alcohol-dependent men who were in an alcohol treatment program took part in the study; they had their brains scanned; their brain scans were then compared with the results with their body mass index (BMI). Researchers found that those participants who were obese had a higher rate of brain damage, despite their "age, smoking status, and other health problems", than those participants who were not obese. Obesity causes many health problems even when a person doesn't consume alcohol; it makes sense that being overweight would exacerbate the affects of alcohol on the mind and body.

"It is commonly believed that it is the large amount of consumed alcohol by itself that leads to brain injury in alcoholics," said Dieter J. Meyerhoff, professor of radiology at the University of California, San Francisco and coauthor of the study. "This is only partly correct. This new study suggests that a high BMI, independent of drinking and smoking, is also associated with brain injury."

Alcohol abuse causes a number of health problems that can ultimately shorten one's life, but, some people are much more susceptible to unrepairable damage to the brain because of their weight, if they consume a lot of alcohol. Everything we put inside our bodies has an effect on us, considering how much food and the types of food you consume can dictate the quality of life one leads.

The study was published online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

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