The Pandemic and Alcohol — Understandable but not Smart

A new study, titled “Lifetime perspective on alcohol and brain health,” provides compelling evidence that alcohol is harmful.

These are the three periods of greatest risk:

1. Pregnancy. Even small amounts can harm the developing brain, yet 10% of pregnant women ignore this warning.

2. Late teen-age years (15–19), a period of “synaptic pruning” and formation of myelin.

3. Older adulthood (over 65), a period of loss of synapses and neuronal shrinkage. Alcohol use is a strong risk factor for dementia.

Women are now just as likely as men to drink and suffer alcohol-related problems. The COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, greatly increased alcohol intake. Long-term effects are likely.

The study by Mewton et al was published in the British Medical, December 2020.

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