In which phases of life is alcohol particularly harmful? A study clarifies the effect of the dangerous cell toxin.
A glass of wine or beer in the evening belongs for many to the everyday life. And in most cases this is also harmless to health. However, it becomes dangerous if the moderate drinking quantity is regularly exceeded. And there are also phases of life in which one should be particularly careful with alcohol. A study by British and Australian researchers comparing several existing studies has taken a closer look at this problem.
Absolutely no alcohol for pregnant women
Actually, it should be known that alcohol is absolutely taboo for pregnant women. Unfortunately, the reality is a little different. "Globally, about ten percent of pregnant women consume alcohol, with rates in European countries significantly higher than the global average", quoted "brigitte.de" Dr. Louise Mewton, the lead author of the study from Kings College London and the University of New South Wales, Sydney .
Apparently, some expectant mothers still have the mistaken belief that a small glass of champagne will not harm the baby. But data from the study suggest that even a small amount of alcohol provides significantly worse mental development and affects the behavior of offspring, reports "miragenews.com" from the study. The damage is even worse with heavy alcohol abuse, which can lead to an extensive reduction in brain volume and cognitive impairment in the baby-to-be, he said. For pregnant women, the message is therefore clear. Even a small glass of wine is one glass too much and can harm the baby.
Adolescents are particularly at risk from alcohol
For young people, there are many new experiences to be had, including how to deal with alcohol. But some teenagers go overboard. "During adolescence, more than 20 percent of 15- to 19-year-olds in European and other high-income countries report occasional binge drinking (defined as 60 grams of ethanol on a single occasion)", writes Doctor Louise Mewton. 20 grams of ethanol correspond to about half a liter of beer or a quarter of a liter of wine. Studies find that excessive drinking in adolescents contributes to decreased brain volume and weaker white matter development. This refers mainly to nerve pathways that are important for signal transmission between brain cells. Mild to moderate deficits in various cognitive functions are also possible – for example, poorer ability to concentrate, poorer memory performance or even motor deficits such as tremors.
Older people are also at risk from alcohol
For many people who already enjoy retirement, the pint of wine in the evening is a harmless pleasure. But even among those over 65, it's important to critically examine alcohol consumption, the study proves. Because it is the greatest modifiable risk for all types of dementia, especially early-onset, even compared to known risk factors such as high blood prere and smoking.
The study has shown in which phases of life alcohol is particularly harmful, but this is not a free pass for everyone else. "There is an indisputable increasing effect of alcohol consumption on cognitive health over the entire life span", Louise Mewton, Ph.D., states.