New research from the University of Exeter Medical School shows that problem drinking in middle age can significantly increase the risks of severe memory loss in later life.
The research was looking at middle-aged drinkers with alcohol use disorders (AUD) over a twenty year period. It found that this category of drinkers had more than doubled the risk of developing severe memory impairment.
The lead author Dr. Iain Laing wrote, “our research suggests odds of late life severe memory impairment are substantially increased in middle-aged adults with AUD. This is the first time a study has looked at long term relationship between a history of AUDs and dementia – related outcomes”.
“What we did here is investigate the relatively unknown association between having a drinking problem at any point in life and experiencing problems with memory in later life and this finding suggests that this is a public health issue which needs to be addressed” Dr. Laing added.
At Castle Craig we already appreciate that most of our patients suffer from cognitive impairment to some degree. As Nora Volkow, Medical Director of The National Institute for Drug Addiction repeatedly states “alcoholism and addiction is a brain disease”.
The damage can be reversed but it takes time. It is not just the memory part of the brain, the Hippocampus, that suffers but also the prefrontal cortex which determines an individual’s decision making and executive functioning.
How can the damage be halted or even reversed?
- First stop all alcohol consumption and illicit drug taking so that harmful toxins are no longer poisoning the brain.
- Follow this up with plenty of exercise to stimulate the oxygen flow and nutrients to the brain. The latter must be part of a healthy diet, perhaps with supplements.
- Mental stimulation such as we provide with our therapeutic programme
- And finally regular sessions in our hyperbaric oxygen chamber which stimulate the natural stem cell production and directs these cells to the brain where the damage is. This together with added oxygen flow and regeneration of blood vessels speeds up brain cell growth or to give it another name – Neurogenesis.
Oh! and an added bonus: HBOT helps sound sleep and it is when one is asleep at night that most healing of the brain takes place.
You can view the aforementioned research study here:
Page published: August 30, 2014. Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked January 28, 2020