Aerobic exercise known to slow cognitive decline, may also prevent or repair damage to the brain caused by alcohol, a new study has found.
US researchers found that aerobic exercise may protect white matter in the brain from alcohol-related damage. Heavy long-term alcohol consumption leads to neural damage that looks similar to the decline in neuro-cognitive functioning observed as people age, said Hollis C Karoly, a graduate student at the University of Colorado at Boulder and corresponding author of the study.
"Given that exercise is protective against some of the neural and cognitive effects of ageing, it seemed likely that aerobic exercise may also work to reverse or prevent some of the damage to the brain caused by chronic alcohol consumption," Karoly said.
Karoly and her colleagues had 60 participants (37 men, 23 women), drawn from a larger database designed to share common brain and clinical data collected across studies on alcohol and nicotine use, undergo a diffusion tensor imaging session.
All participants also completed measures of alcohol consumption, loss of control over drinking, and aerobic exercise participation.
Study authors then examined relationships among exercise, alcohol, and fractional anisotropy in the superior longitudinal fasciculus, external capsule, fornix and superior and anterior corona radiata, as well as self-reported loss of control over drinking.
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