At this point, we can safely confirm that booze is bad for the brain. The question on everyone’s mind, however, is how bad is it really? The vast majority of us leave binge drinking behind in college and our 20s. Surely knocking back a few drinks every week can’t really be that bad, right? Well… a new study run by University of Pennsylvania researchers found that even light-to-moderate levels of alcohol consumption, like one drink a day, was associated with overall reductions in brain volume. That link only grew stronger as levels of alcohol intake grew. And the study’s findings, published in Nature Communications, are only more alarming given that they encompass data from more than 36,000 adults—a sample size that’s far greater than earlier investigations probing the relationship between booze and brains. “The fact that we have such a large sample size allows us to find subtle patterns, even between drinking the equivalent of half a beer and one beer a day,” study co-author and UPenn professor Gideon Nave said in a press release. Reduced brain volume leads to cognitive impairments. Brains naturally shrink with age, so brain size can act as a proxy measurement for brain age. Repeated brain injuries and some kinds of behaviors, including drinking, can further reduce brain size and accelerate brain aging. The new study analyzes information from the UK Biobank, a repository of medical data from half-a-million British adults across different ages, sexes, socioeconomic statuses, genetic ancestries, places of residence, and many other health factors. Of the 36,000 participants in this study, Nave and his team specifically looked at how brain MRIs—which are very useful in illustrating overall brain volume—changed with respect to drink . . . read the full article here.