Smoking and drinking alcohol make aging of the brain faster

Scientists at the University of Southern California have established a link between smoking and regular alcohol consumption and the rate of brain aging. They found that bad habits not only reduce the volume of gray and white matter, but also contribute to accelerated aging of the brain.

There were 17,308 participants whose data was included in the British biobank. Of these, about five thousand were from the control group, that is, people who did not smoke or drink alcohol, the age of participants in the main and control groups was from 45 to 81 years old. The age of the brain was determined by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). 

It turned out that avid smokers, as well as alcohol lovers, had older brains than participants without bad habits. The study showed that every year of intensive smoking (at least one pack of cigarettes a day) the brain aged 0.03 years. Each additional gram of alcohol consumption during the year increases the age of the brain by 0.02 years. 

Previous studies have found that smokers reduce the volume and density of gray matter in the frontal cortex, temporal and posterior lobes. Regular consumption of alcohol reduces not only the volume of gray matter in the cerebral cortex, but also the white matter protecting brain tissue from damage. 

Jan. 31, 2020, 10:53 a.m.

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