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Boozers facing brain damage.

HEAVY social drinkers face the same brain damage as chronic alcoholics, scientists warned yesterday.

Those who knock back more than 100 drinks a month suffer memory loss, poor balance, reduced intelligence and impaired mental agility.

And researchers in the United States warned: 'Drink in moderation.'

The scientists scanned the brains of 46 heavy social drinkers and 52 light drinkers.

Both groups were tested for verbal intelligence, processing speed, balance, working memory, spatial function and learning and memory ability.

The heavy drinkers were found to have minor brain damage which affected their ability to do everyday tasks.

The scientists said brain chemicals and structures among the heavy social drinkers showed similarities to damage found in chronic alcoholics.

Dr Dieter Meyerhoff, of the University of California, said: 'Brain damage is detectable in heavy drinkers who are not in treatment and function relatively well in the community.

'Socially functioning heavy drinkers often do not recognise that their level of drinking constitutes a problem that warrants treatment.

'Heavy drinking damages your brain ever so slightly, reducing your cognitive functioning in ways that may not be readily noticeable. To be safe, don't overdo it.'

CAPTION(S):

THREAT: Heavy drinking
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 16, 2004
Words:194
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