Aug. 24, 2022 – His work has garnered numerous accolades, so he’s only partly joking when he points out that his group’s recent research got the ultimate recognition: A study suggesting that alcohol use ages and shrinks the brain was the subject of a Saturday Night Live weekend update punchline. 

You were one of the researchers on a recent study that found even modest alcohol consumption — a few beers or glasses of wine a week — may carry risks to the brain. What are those risks?

We found that drinking more than about one drink a day was associated with reductions in brain volume, which could have cognitive effects.

I should note that this was a correlational study, meaning that we can’t prove that alcohol caused the effect. And it was cross-sectional, meaning it was a snapshot in time. So, we also don’t know whether these changes occur directly in response to changes in drinking, including whether they get better when people stop drinking.


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