The Extremely Popular Drink Linked To Brain Damage

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It can damage memory,
problem-solving skills and the ability to read emotions.
Alcohol consumption is
regularly linked to long-term brain damage by research.
It can damage memory,
problem-solving skills and the ability to read emotions.
Even moderate alcohol intake
is linked to brain damage and worse mental skills.
There is little or no evidence
that even low levels of alcohol are beneficial for the brain.
Dr Ksenija Marinkovic, the
study’s first author, said:
“Like most body organs, the
brain is vulnerable to injury from excessive alcohol consumption. 
Most common deficits include
difficulties with memory, reduced reasoning and problem solving abilities, and
emotional abnormalities.”
Naturally, alcoholics are at a
much higher risk of brain damage.
One aspect of this is a
deficit in reading facial emotions, said Dr Marinkovic:
“Alcoholics have problems in
judging the emotional expressions on people’s faces. 
This can result in
miscommunication during emotionally charged situations and lead to unnecessary
conflicts and difficulties in interpersonal relationships. 
The resulting negative
repercussions can, in turn, contribute to increased drinking.”
The study involved 30 people,
half of whom were recovering alcoholics.
Their brains were scanned
while they were given a test of how good they were at reading emotions from
The results showed that
recovering alcoholics did worse.
The area of the brain
important for processing emotions — the amygdala — did not respond as strongly
in recovering alcoholics.
Dr Marinkovic explained:
“…deficient activation of
limbic structures inside the temporal lobes – the amygdala and hippocampus –
may underlie emotional difficulties in abstinent long-term alcoholics. 
Whereas nonalcoholic adult men
showed stronger activation in the amygdala and hippocampus when viewing faces
with emotional expressions, the alcoholics showed decreased activation in these
brain areas, and furthermore responded in an undifferentiated manner to all
facial expressions.”
Professor Edith V. Sullivan,
study co-author, said:
“…alcoholics may be at a
special disadvantage in detecting emotion-filled facial expression, which we
all naturally use to convey information, such as warnings, love, anger, and
defense, among others, and assume that the intended message is accurately
The study was published in the
journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (Marinkovic et al.,
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.