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New Research Suggests 0.08%bac Enough To Do Harm

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seravitae

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Moderate drinking? Alcohol consumption significantly decreases neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus

Abstract

Drinking alcohol in moderation is often considered a health-conscious behavior, associated with improved cardiovascular and brain health. However, moderate amounts of alcohol include drinking 34 alcohol beverages in a day, which is closer to binge drinking and may do more harm than good. Here we examined how daily drinking of moderate-high alcohol alters the production of new neurons in the adult hippocampus. Male and female adult SpragueDawley rats were provided free access to a liquid replacement diet that was supplemented with either 4% ethanol or Maltodextrin for a period of 2 weeks. Proliferating cells were labeled with 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) and the number of BrdU-positive cells in the hippocampus was assessed after the final day of drinking. A subset of rats was also exposed to a motor skill or associative learning task to examine the functional effects of alcohol consumption. The drinking regime resulted in an average blood alcohol concentration of approximately 0.08%, which is comparable to the human legal driving limit in many countries. This level of intoxication did not impair motor skill learning or function in either sex, nor did the alcohol consumption disrupt associative learning 2 days after drinking. Therefore, moderate alcohol consumption did not disrupt basic sensory, motor or learning processes. However, the number of cells produced in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus was reduced by nearly 40%. Thus, even moderate consumption of alcohol for a relatively short period of time can have profound effects on structural plasticity in the adult brain.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/artic...306452212008457
 

wbosher

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Well, we're all fecked then! :lol:
 

bum

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I just wanted to post in this thread before it fills up with stupidity. I'm really quite looking forward to reading posts taking this as a justification of raising BAC limits...

Interesting post, sera. I'm not about to buy the article so I'll just ask you instead - what are the consequences of reduced plasticity of the hippocampus? Obviously it sounds bad but there is no suggestion as to how it is bad.
 

Liam_snorkel

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The rats were at an average BAC of 0.08% for the whole two weeks? Or did I read that wrong.
 

warra48

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Luckily we don't have a rat's brain or hippocampus, or we'd all be in trouble.

More testing needed to prove this translates to humans, rather than just rats.

Bit of a long bow to argue for an increase in BAC limits on the basis of limited testing with a different species.
 

Dave70

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what are the consequences of reduced plasticity of the hippocampus? Obviously it sounds bad but there is no suggestion as to how it is bad.
I remember reading a teensy bit about plasticity in regard to the brains ability to recover after trauma, ie, injury or a stroke, whereby one area of the brain takes over the role of cognitive or physical control from the damaged area. Seemed like an incredibility vague area of research, at this point in time at least. Lets face it, we still don't even understand how memory works, and demonstrably, people who've suffered this kind of injury rarely make a full recovery. I'd say in my totally unqualified medical opinion that brain plasticity is extremely limited in the first place.

Like you mentioned, the question is 'how bad', not that it actually occurs.
 

seravitae

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I just wanted to post in this thread before it fills up with stupidity. I'm really quite looking forward to reading posts taking this as a justification of raising BAC limits...

Interesting post, sera. I'm not about to buy the article so I'll just ask you instead - what are the consequences of reduced plasticity of the hippocampus? Obviously it sounds bad but there is no suggestion as to how it is bad.
If you hold out till next week I can get you the article for free mate, when I get back to uni. Just remind me an email after wednesday if you're still looking for it and I'll grab it.


Yes, more work is needed to be done, and yes, I agree rats aren't humans. But they're a good starting point and a good model for a myriad of reasons.

Potential implications of affecting the dentate gyrus (and the hippocampus in general) affect spatial cognition and memory-formation abilities. While we know alcohol inhibits those, this is more about long term effects, present even when alcohol is cleared from the system. Additionally the dentate gyrus affects stem cell growth and neural regeneration, so inhibition/damage to this region may also generally affect how the brain is able to repair itself.

I also agree somewhat with Dave, I believe plasticity exists but is not as amazing as it sounds. Some things are almost permanently wired as to to speak, otherwise we could not function. Thus it is hard for other parts of the brain to take over function. It can be done with specific mental excersizes under certain conditions, sometimes it can happen spontaneously, but it is not something we should take for granted that if we lose a chunk of our brain that the rest will pick up the slack.
 

Lecterfan

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I just wanted to post in this thread before it fills up with stupidity. I'm really quite looking forward to reading posts taking this as a justification of raising BAC limits...

Interesting post, sera. I'm not about to buy the article so I'll just ask you instead - what are the consequences of reduced plasticity of the hippocampus? Obviously it sounds bad but there is no suggestion as to how it is bad.

I'm not digging out my books as I'm attempting to write an essay (unsuccessfully based on the fact I'm replying here), but the hippocampus is one of those sub-cortical structures, a deep, older part of the brain that plays a role in our everyday 'automatic' as well as cogitative/intentional activities. Alzheimer's and heaps of other dementia-type diseases have strong correlation to degradation of the hippocampus. Reduced plasticity has implications on most day to day functions as it means wear and tear will not be able to be appropriately/adequately 'rejuvenated' or 'covered for' by surrounding regions or remaining healthy parts of the h/c itself.

Research into neural plasticity of all sorts is still relatively new...pretty amazing and exciting areas in some ways...it seems that plasticity is an integral aspect of the brain in regards to keeping the CNS and peripheral NS in action and enhancing/maintaining day to day functioning.

Drink up!!!


edit: Dave70, I think you'd be surprised about how effective plasticity is... sure, it's not going to 'heal' massive trauma, but that's not necessarily it's function (although the term may have that type of connotation, but that's just linguistics at play). Plasticity is about maintaining a semblance of day to day functioning and to continue to keep an organism alive...they know f/a about it's limits as yet of course.

second edit: No, rats aren't humans but it is amazing the efficacy of studies that translate both behaviourally and physiologically from rats to humans. Sometimes closer than primates. Now of course the real question is an ethical one hee hee...should we be using any sentient creature for this at all when we have encephalic homo sapiens and other alternatives...OFF TOPIC, sorry. Back to work for me.
 

bum

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Thanks, Dave, sera and Lecterfan. All very interesting. Thanks also for the offer of grabbing the full paper, sera, but I think my question has been more that suitably answered now. I'm not pretending I would have understood the whole document - I was just looking for a better idea of what the up-shot might be.

I'm not digging out my books as I'm attempting to write an essay (unsuccessfully based on the fact I'm replying here)
Yeah, I've got an exam on Wednesday so the long-term effects of alcohol consumption on the hippocampus of rats is of vital import to me right now.
 

seravitae

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Thanks, Dave, sera and Lecterfan. All very interesting. Thanks also for the offer of grabbing the full paper, sera, but I think my question has been more that suitably answered now. I'm not pretending I would have understood the whole document - I was just looking for a better idea of what the up-shot might be.
NP mate. If you're ever interested in future for any papers on SD or elsevier etc, or want some help interpreting a paper, pop me a PM, i'll do what i can
 

Dave70

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Now of course the real question is an ethical one hee hee...should we be using any sentient creature for this at all when we have encephalic homo sapiens and other alternatives...
No problem with (humane) vivisection here. If a few monkeys have to die so we may discover a cure or treatment for appalling maladies like motor neuron disease or cancer, so be it.

Sadly,even implying human experimentation on the internet means Godwin's law cant be far behind..

I shall de-rail no more.
 

seravitae

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Yes, but when that monkey is your son or daughter, one's perspective changes. Alas we enter the ethical dilemma. "The scalpel and the butterfly" is a good book for that topic, if anyone is interested.

Also AHB in entireity is OT, the train was never on the rails to begin with, so it's only downhill from here! CHOO CHOO
 

bum

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The little engine that was easily distracted.
 

rotten

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I'm confused, can we drink every day or not?

Alright I will be the guinea pig if no-one else will. Leave the poor monkeys alone :p
 

Dave70

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Yes, but when that monkey is your son or daughter, one's perspective changes.
Whoa there buddy. Now we're gettin into a whole different field of 'ethics'..

 

Bribie G

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I didn't know that Hippopotamuses (hippopotami) drank alcohol.
 

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