Study reveals what boosts human brain ageing process at a massive rate

A study on more than 17,000 people revealed that consumption of alcohol and smoking can speed up brain ageing

If a human body is a machine then the brain is Operating System which controls many aspects, such as thinking, behaviours, movement, talking, memory and others. Remembering, planning, organizing and making decisions are cognitive abilities affect how well we do every day's task. And the brain function changes as people get older.

But recently researchers found that over time, consumption of alcohol more than recommended could accelerate the brain's ageing process. Here it should be noted that early studies which have found similar results, were based on either a large group of mice or a small group of people. But this new research is one of the largest studies ever done on brain ageing.

Changes occur during brain ageing

Brain ageing study

The medial temporal lobe is responsible for memory Wikipedia

Researchers at the University of Southern California who conducted the new study examined 17,308 human brain scans from the UK Biobank, which is one of the biggest sample sizes ever seen. As per the researchers during the study, they found that for every gram of alcohol consumed a day, the brain aged 0.02 years.

People who drink every day had brains which were, on average, 0.4 years older than those individuals who didn't drink daily. The study also revealed that those who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day for a year age their brains by 0.03 years or 11 days.

Since this was one of the biggest studies ever, the researchers taught a computer to work out each person's 'brain age.' The scientists took 30 percent of the brain scans in the study, which includes people aged between 41 and 81. They train the computer to use the scans to see how old or young those brains look. Later, they compared computer's estimates of each brain's age with the person's real age along with their daily consumption rate of alcohol and tobacco, in order to record how these elements triggered the ageing process of the brain.

When the researchers compared these results with the other 70 percent of their brain scans, it was revealed that the brain aged beyond the actual age when a person drink and smoke more.

The impact on brain

Drinking and smoking
Drinking and smoking Pixabay

The lead author of the study, Arthur Toga, told Inverse that "The 0.4 years of difference was statistically significant. We suggest that daily or almost daily alcohol consumption can be detrimental to the brain."

As per a Harvard study, drinking in moderation can have some benefits, particularly for the heart. Dr Qi Sun, a co-author of the Harvard study earlier revealed that while drinking alcohol, it is very important to drink responsibly and focus on eating a healthy diet, as well as maintaining healthy body weight.

Brain ageing effects