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“Moderate drinking? Alcohol consumption significantly decreases neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus”

Drinking alcohol in moderation is often considered a health-conscious behavior, associated with improved cardiovascular and brain health. However, “moderate” amounts of alcohol include drinking 3–4 alcohol beverages in a day, which is closer to binge drinking and may do more harm than good. Here we examined how daily drinking of moderate-high alcohol alters the production of new neurons in the adult hippocampus. (…) 

This level of intoxication did not impair motor skill learning or function in either sex, nor did the alcohol consumption disrupt associative learning 2 days after drinking. Therefore, moderate alcohol consumption did not disrupt basic sensory, motor or learning processes. However, the number of cells produced in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus was reduced by nearly 40%. Thus, even moderate consumption of alcohol for a relatively short period of time can have profound effects on structural plasticity in the adult brain. [via]
If you have the lifestyle that allows moderate drinking by this definition, loooosing nearly half of  your neural production may not be a big factor in your day to day decision making anyway.

Moderate drinking? Alcohol consumption significantly decreases neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus

Drinking alcohol in moderation is often considered a health-conscious behavior, associated with improved cardiovascular and brain health. However, “moderate” amounts of alcohol include drinking 3–4 alcohol beverages in a day, which is closer to binge drinking and may do more harm than good. Here we examined how daily drinking of moderate-high alcohol alters the production of new neurons in the adult hippocampus. (…) 

This level of intoxication did not impair motor skill learning or function in either sex, nor did the alcohol consumption disrupt associative learning 2 days after drinking. Therefore, moderate alcohol consumption did not disrupt basic sensory, motor or learning processes. However, the number of cells produced in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus was reduced by nearly 40%. Thus, even moderate consumption of alcohol for a relatively short period of time can have profound effects on structural plasticity in the adult brain. [via]

If you have the lifestyle that allows moderate drinking by this definition, loooosing nearly half of  your neural production may not be a big factor in your day to day decision making anyway.

The Neuroscience Behind Boozy Blackouts
Researchers have found the neurons affected by drinking are in the hippocampus and other areas of higher cognitive functioning and the “molecular mechanism that appears to underlie blackouts”.
The idea is kinda of domino effect: you drink, the alcohol triggers your neurons to produce a steroid that “inhibits long-term potentiation (LTP), a process that strengthens the connections between neurons and is crucial to learning and memory”. And when just the right amount of this steroid is released,  it interferes with synaptic plasticity or memory formation, so you aren’t passed out, your still processing info, your just not able to remember it & have no idea what happened last night or who that is…and there’s your 20’s. Kidding. But the same thing applies with stress in the hippocampus, which may be why our memory of stressful or traumatic situations may be fuzzy/impaired as well. But back to drinking, the brain cells aren’t dead -a little good news there, hmm? The receptors are just “blocking the neural signals that create memories”. The more we know about what happens when memory is inhibited in various ways, the closer we get to “ strategies to improve memory”.  You can drink to that.
Via or have a quick listen. H/T@TheNeuroScience
Image: The neon green is showing steroids produced by the neurons in response to the alcohol, which inhibit the formation of memory. On the right: the same region, minus the booze.

The Neuroscience Behind Boozy Blackouts

Researchers have found the neurons affected by drinking are in the hippocampus and other areas of higher cognitive functioning and the “molecular mechanism that appears to underlie blackouts”.

The idea is kinda of domino effect: you drink, the alcohol triggers your neurons to produce a steroid that “inhibits long-term potentiation (LTP), a process that strengthens the connections between neurons and is crucial to learning and memory”. And when just the right amount of this steroid is released,  it interferes with synaptic plasticity or memory formation, so you aren’t passed out, your still processing info, your just not able to remember it & have no idea what happened last night or who that is…and there’s your 20’s. Kidding. But the same thing applies with stress in the hippocampus, which may be why our memory of stressful or traumatic situations may be fuzzy/impaired as well. But back to drinking, the brain cells aren’t dead -a little good news there, hmm? The receptors are just “blocking the neural signals that create memories”. The more we know about what happens when memory is inhibited in various ways, the closer we get to “ strategies to improve memory”.  You can drink to that.

Via or have a quick listen. H/T@TheNeuroScience

Image: The neon green is showing steroids produced by the neurons in response to the alcohol, which inhibit the formation of memory. On the right: the same region, minus the booze.

Where Do Bad Moods Come From?

The standard theory of bad moods is rooted in a psychological quirk known as ego depletion. Pioneered by Roy Baumeister and Mark Muraven in the 1990s, the basic idea behind ego depletion is that self-control and willpower are limited cognitive resources. As a result, when we overexert ourselves in one domain – say, when we’re on a strict diet, or focused on a difficult task for hours at work – we have fewer resources left over to exert self-control in other domains. 

New experimental research speculates that “self-control is inherently aggravating" and that (…) that the labor of self-control directly inspires our tendency towards anger, and not indirectly via a worn down prefrontal cortex.

I’ll say.

Good thing it’s whisky time.

I should probably tell clients I can no longer be paid in booze like a circus hobo.

I should probably tell clients I can no longer be paid in booze like a circus hobo.

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