Luckily, you have an amazing number of connections and neurons in your brain (about 100 billion neurons, along with 10′sof billions of glial cells, which support the neurons). So this helps mask the problem. Also, even among long time alcoholics,it has been shown that simply quitting drinking copious amounts of alcohol is all that is required for your body to be able toreverse most of the damage to the dendrites and restore the ability for your brain cells to communicate. So you can afford todamage some of the neurons temporarily without any real lasting effect.Unfortunately, for the people who have an extreme habit of excessively drinking, there are other side effects on your brainthat aren’t so easily completely fixed, such as developing Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, which is characterized by:confusion, coordination problems, hallucinations, memory problems, eye problems, and even inducing a coma or death, if it’sleft untreated. What’s going on here is that excessive alcohol consumption over a long period of time causes a vitamin B1deficiency (8 out of 10 alcoholics are vitamin B1 deficient), due to the alcohol inhibiting the body’s ability to absorbthiamine (also many alcoholics are often malnourished because of their own bad eating habits). This, in turn, causes neurondeath, among other things. This is treatable, in most cases, but certain effects stick around forever as your body won’t beable to repair itself completely from this particular brand of damage.Another brain-related side effect caused by excessive drinking is that high doses of alcohol, while not killing your brain cells,inhibits the growth of new brain cells. However, recent research has shown, at least with rats, that once the alcohol was nolonger given to the rats, new brain cell production went into overdrive to try to compensate for the previously inhibited braincell production. Now, if you go for long enough without giving your brain a chance to recover, drinking excessively on a regular basis, it is thought there may still be lasting effects due to this inhibited new brain cell growth over extended periods,but whether this is actually the case or not, isn’t yet known.There are also a variety of other known neurological problems that are associated with intemperate alcohol consumptionsover long periods of time and some that even show up in a short amount of time in children and teens who abuse alcohol, butthis article is already too long. Then of course, there are the myriad of other problems, non-brain related that come withalcoholism, such as liver problems, other nervous system problems outside of how it affects your brain, and others.Bottom line, alcohol consumed in moderation, such as a small glass of wine a day, can be very good for you. On the otherhand, drinking excessively won’t kill you brain cells directly, but is still bad for your brain. Although, your body cancompensate, to a certain extent, and repair the damage caused in most cases, at least as far as your brain is concerned, solong as you don’t make a regular habit of it.BonusFactoids:Another myth concerning alcohol that was once spread about, particularly during Prohibition, but to which I don’tthink anyone actually believes anymore (at least I hope not!), is that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can lead tospontaneous combustion due to alcohol being flammable and it coursing through your veins. This is ridiculous onmany levels, but nevertheless, was a popular notion during Prohibition and for a while afterwards. The myth thatalcohol kills brain cells was also widely popularized during Prohibition.There are several things that contribute to hangovers, but principally what’s going on here is simple dehydration.Alcohol has a dehydrating effect by inhibiting the release of vasopressin, which is an anti-diuretic hormone. So inlayman’s terms, the result of alcohol inhibiting the vasopressin is that your body produces a lot more urine thannormal with the result that you become dehydrated easily.Scientists once believed that the number of nerve cells you have in your brain, once you reach adulthood, was allyou’d ever have. Thus, damaging these cells could be extremely detrimental to the individual. However, this isn’tcorrect. New neurons are created all the time in the adult brain, in a process that is called neurogenesis.Sources:Alcohol’s Damaging Effects on the BrainDoes Alcohol Kill Brain Cells?Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and CaffeineThe Claim: Alcohol Kills Brain CellsWernicke-Korsakoff’s SyndromeHangoverDoes Drinking Alcohol Kill Brain Cells?Top 10 Myths About the BrainDoes Drinking Alcohol Kill Brain Cells?Zuccala, G. , et al. Dose-related impact of alcohol consumption on cognitive function in advanced age: Results of a multicenter study. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2001, 25, 1743-1748.
Alcohol Does Not Kill Brain Cellshttp://www.misconceptionjunction.com/index.php/2010/10/alcohol-doe...2 of 614.12.2010 02:32