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Considering a drink? It could age your brain.

As someone who suffered injuries in a car crash caused by an intoxicated driver, you're in a position to understand how dangerous drinking and driving really is. For most people, the intoxication starts to dissipate within a few hours after their last drink. However, there are also longer lasting consequences for some.

An interesting thing you may not know is that moderate drinking could have an impact on your memory in the future. According to a British study, moderate drinking, which equals 8 to 12 glasses of wine, beer, or shots each week, could be a sign of eventual memory loss. People who drank in these amounts were also more likely to lose language ability, whereas they did relatively well on other cognitive tests.

This new study is important, since many people drink in those amounts. People have been led to believe that light drinking is beneficial, but the reality may be that it is not and that moderate drinking actually leads to possible harm. The study doesn't look into heavy drinking, but it has already been shown that heavy drinking can be linked to dementia and brain damage.

By better understanding how drinking truly affects the brain, it's possible that the United States could change its drinking culture in the hope of reducing the risk to individuals' health as well as to reduce the risk of drunk-driving accidents.

How does drinking affect the brain?

In the study, it was shown that the hippocampus shrank, a change that can be a sign of dementia. Moderate drinkers, although not abusing alcohol, were three times more likely to have this symptom than those who abstained completely.

In the United States, alcohol guidelines recommend not drinking more than a single drink per day for women and no more than two a day for men. This is because of many potential health risks such as alcohol-related traffic accidents, the link to breast cancer and violence.

While drinking does affect the brain, it seems that people do not always consider the impact of their actions. Drinking before getting on the road could put others at risk of being involved in a drunk-driving collision while, at the same time, the drunken person is harming him- or herself internally. The dangers of alcohol aren't fully understood, and studies like these are important to better grasp how alcohol impacts people in America physically, mentally and on the roads.

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