Want a sharp mind? Avoid wine
The alcoholic beverage could lead to a shrinkage of that part of the brain which is responsible for memory.health and fitness Updated: Mar 17, 2008 18:17 IST
Binge drinkers, beware! Guzzling beer is better for brain while quaffing wine is a worry, a new study has claimed. Researchers at the University of Gottingen in Germany have found that drinking wine damages the brain more than beer or spirits - wine actually shrinks the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory.
According to them, the average size of the hippocampus - one of the first brain areas to be affected by Alzheimer's disease - in non-alcoholics is 3.85ml while in beer drinkers it is 3.4ml, but for wine drinkers it is only 2.8ml.
"This is the first study investigating the impact of the type of preferred beverage on brain-volume shrinkage in patients with alcohol dependence," British newspaper Daily Mail quoted the researchers as saying. They came to the conclusion after analysing the brain scans of alcoholics with those of healthy adults.
They found that the hippocampus, which is located deep within the brain's temporal lobes, was ten per cent smaller in wine drinkers.
According to the researchers, a shrunken hippocampus can affect not only memory but also the brain's navigation and spatial awareness, and as a result may cause feelings of disorientation.
However, in their study, the researchers also found that beer drinkers had the lowest levels of a compound in the blood called homocysteine which is often linked to heart disease and strokes.
The results of the study have been published in the Alcohol and Alcoholism medical journal. It may be mentioned that earlier researches have linked moderate wine drinking to a host of health benefits, including reducing high blood pressure and preventing the risk of a heart attack.