Drinking every day cripples your brain - especially if you're a woman

winesharingBy Kayla Brantley For Dailymail.com
Published: 17:25 GMT, 9 November 2017 | Updated: 14:53 GMT, 13 November 2017
Having more than one glass of wine a night is enough to kill cells in key regions of a woman's brain, according to new research.
A study on mice found that alcohol is particularly damaging to the subventricular region of the brain, where new brain cells are created to sustain brain function, and protect against tumors and neurodegenerative diseases.
For the first time, research showed that female brains displayed more severe deficits after drinking than males, who would need more than 14 drinks a week to suffer significant damage.
The researchers in Texas said the findings, while alarming, could open a door to combating alcoholism by helping us to understand alcohol-related brain changes.
Chronic alcohol drinking kills stem cells in key regions of the brain and reduces the development of new nerve cells in adults. Female brains were affected more so than male brains
Cerebral cortex: This region is where thought processing and consciousness are centered. Alcohol depresses the behavioral inhibitory centers, slowing down the processing of information from the eyes, ears and mouth while inhibiting the thought processes, making it difficult to think clearly.
Cerebellum: Alcohol affects this center of movement and balance, resulting in the staggering, off-balance stumble when drunk
Hypothalamus and pituitary: The hypothalamus and pituitary coordinate automatic brain functions and hormone release. Alcohol depresses nerve centers in the hypothalamus that control sexual arousal and performance. Although sexual urge may increase, sexual performance decreases.
Medulla: This area of the brain handles such automatic functions as breathing, consciousness and body temperature. Alcohol induces sleepiness and can also slow breathing and lower body temperature, which can be life threatening.
Dozens of studies have shown that prolonged alcohol abuse can cause severe brain damage and neurodegeneration.
In fact, on Wednesday a leading panel of oncologist released a report linking alcohol to seven types of cancers.
Scientists once believed that the number of nerve cells in the adult brain was fixed early in life and the best way to treat alcohol-induced brain damage was to protect the remaining nerve cells.
But research has shown that adult brains produce stem cells that create new nerve cells and alcohol is suppressing that process.
Researchers from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston said this discovery provides a new way of approaching the problem of alcohol-related changes in the brain.
Dr Ping Wu, UTMB professor in the department of neuroscience and cell biology, said: 'Before the new approaches can be developed, we need to understand how alcohol impacts the brain stem cells at different stages in their growth, in different brain regions and in the brains of both males and females.'
In the study, Wu and her colleagues used a technique that allowed them to tag brain stem cells and observe how they migrate and develop into nerve cells over time.
This allowed them to study the impact of long-term alcohol consumption on the cells.
The female brains displayed more severe intoxication behaviors and greatly reduced the pool of stem cells in the subventricular zone, where the new cells are generated.
The findings show that the effects of repeated alcohol consumption differed across brain regions.

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