It seems like lately researchers are starting to see how the brain ticks on alcohol. Story after story has been coming out with new developments regarding brain damage and the role alcohol plays.
The latest study, using postmortem human brain tissue, found that the genes needed for brain cells to respond to insulin and IGF (insulin growth factor) are decreased with excess alcohol. What does this mean? With low levels of insulin, your brain cells have difficulty carrying out their natural functions and because of that, surviving.
We have already heard about studies linking low levels of insulin and Alzheimer’s, but now researchers have a clearer idea of how far this cell degradation goes. With excess amounts of alcohol or low amounts over a long time, the lipid in the cell membranes starts to dissolve. This area is where the insulin receptors are, and with the loss of lipids, they start to weaken.
Without these receptors working and active, researchers found that there was a marked decrease in levels of neurotransmitters that are needed for the basic tasks of life – learning, memory and motor function. Interestingly enough, there is a possible silver lining. With the development of drugs that target a cells response to insulin may help with alcohol treatment.
Whether or not you have experienced brain trauma, using alcohol may be something you want to reconsider, but if you are already having difficulty with memory loss, balance and learning from TBI, cutting out alcohol becomes all the more important.
Research: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research (2008, June 17). Alcohol Abuse Can Damage