PolySciFi Blog

Thursday, April 28, 2005


The Best News Ever!!

Beer is good for your brain.
Moderate alcohol consumption over a relatively long period of time can enhance the formation of new nerve cells in the adult brain....

The study, which was carried out on mice, examined alcohol consumption corresponding to that found in normal social situations. The results show that moderate drinking enhances the formation of new cells in the adult brain. The cells survive and develop into nerve cells in the normal manner. No increase in neuronal atrophy, however, could be demonstrated.
While this may seem like an odd finding, it's exactly as a friend of mine, Alex Jamal, expected. His theory was that alcohol kills off the weak neurons, leaving the strong neurons to reproduce. Of course, I think he was kidding, but I imagine that the stress that alcohol introdues to your brain may actually stimulate growth.

Now that being said, the researchers are speculating that this growth of neurons is related to the development of an alcohol dependency.
The new cells could prove important in the development of alcohol dependency and other long-term effects of alcohol on the brain.
To which I say, it's a virtuous cycle! You drink, you grow more brain cells. The new cells cause you to want to drink more. In turn this causes even more brain cell growth, which......

Sure there's a limit to the process. Drink too much and you'll kill too many neurons for the effect to matter. And you might even put on a little beer belly.

But that's ok too! Cause being overweight is good for your health too! [ed - isn't that more likely from muscular in-shape people screwing up the BMI statistic than from people with Buddha bellies? - don't be a buzzkill man]

(Thanks to Christiana for bringing this landmark study to light.)

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