ALCOHOL-induced brain damage continues up to six weeks after stopping drinking, experts have warned.
It’s well known that excessive boozing isn’t good for the brain but up until now, little was understood about how long it takes to repair itself after going sober.
Boozing is known to damage the brain cells, shown in blue, but these scans show even weeks after going tee-total the damage remains, scientists warn
Booze danger greater than first thought
Scientists in Alicante, Spain and Mannheim in Germany have now found that the brain continues to be damaged for longer than previously thought.
They scanned the brains of 90 volunteer patients who were staying in a rehabilitation unit in a German hospital.
With an average age of 46, the patients had been hospitalised because of an alcohol issue.
Scientists compared their results with those of 36 men without booze problems.
Damage progresses over time
Dr Santiago Canals, of the Institute of Neurosciences CSIC-UMH, who has coordinated the research said: “Until now, nobody could believe that in the absence of alcohol the damage in the brain would progress.”
He highlighted that: “An important aspect of the work is that the group of patients participating in our research are hospitalised in a detoxification program, and their consumption of addictive substances is controlled, which guarantees that they are not drinking any alcohol.
“Therefore, the abstinence phase can be followed closely.”
The damage observed during the sober period tended to affect the frontal area and right hemisphere of the brain.
That goes against the commonly held belief that damage starts to be reversed once people give up booze.
DUTY OF CARE What are the symptoms of autism in adults and how do they test for it? WAITING TO DIE Brain dead woman gives birth to baby boy then has life support switched off SLIMMING CLINIC SHAME Private weight-loss clinics caught giving patients unlicensed drugs WINE CANCER RISK Drinking a bottle of wine ‘has same cancer risk as smoking 10 cigarettes’ MIND THE LIFE GAP Rich kids ‘will live 7 years longer than children born in poorest areas’ SITTING DUCKS Sitting all day is ‘new smoking’ as 70k lives lost to couch potato lifestyle ExclusiveBAN IS BREWING Kids could be banned from buying tea due to caffeine ‘anxiety warnings’ INVISIBLE ILLNESS We’re battling illnesses you can’t see… no one believes we’re disabled ExclusiveWAXING MIRACLE Doctor saved baby’s life by SNIFFING her earwax and diagnosing fatal disease GLASS ACT Daily glass of orange juice ‘can cut risk of strokes by almost a quarter’ RIGHT TO DIE ROW Top doctors have dropped their opposition to assisted dying, poll shows OP DELAY RISK Growing delays for routine NHS operations risk ‘fuelling negligence claims’
The scientists are now trying to really understand the extent of the damage in order to do more research on how widespread it becomes in the early days of sobriety.
It’s worth saying that this study is looking specifically at alcoholics so we’re not talking about the odd glass of vino here or there.
But it’s still interesting to note that our brains may not recover quite as fast as we all thought.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 782 4368. You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours