Aerobics Prevent Brain Damage Caused by Heavy Alcohol Drinking

First Posted: Apr 17, 2013 08:40 AM EDT

For good health, it is always good to do some type of long and easy aerobic activity.  It is considered as the best option for reducing fat mass. One more new health benefit aerobics offers is that it prevents and reverses brain damage that is caused due to heavy alcohol consumption.

A study conducted by Hollis Karoly, a doctoral student in CU-Boulder's psychology and neuroscience department, links aerobic exercise with less damage to white matter in the brain among heavy alcohol drinkers.

"We found that for people who drink a lot and exercise a lot, there was not a strong relationship between alcohol and white matter," said Karoly in a press statement. "But for people who drink a lot and don't exercise, our study showed the integrity of white matter is compromised in several areas of the brain. It basically means white matter is not moving messages between areas of the brain as efficiently as normal."

In order to prove the hypothesis, the study was conducted on 60 people that included 37 men and 23 women who were either moderate drinkers or heavy drinkers. They belonged to a study for alcohol and nicotine issues. The participants were asked to participate in a standard written test called the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT). This test detects the harmful drinking behavior in an individual. Apart from this, the subjects reported on their attempt to reduce drinking and the amount of exercise they did.

The subjects underwent an MRI known as Diffusion Tensor Imaging, or DTI, which helped the researchers track the position and direction of water molecules in the white matter.

The researchers noticed an association between aerobic exercise and white matter in the brain, which was linked to heavy drinking. They stated that heavy drinkers who spent more time doing exercises had healthier white matter than drinkers who didn't do any exercise.

When the white matter is damaged, it causes sensory problems and cognitive impairments.

The study was published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. 

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