[Paleopsych] Science Daily: Moderate Alcohol Consumption Enhances The Formation Of New Nerve Cells

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Mon May 9 21:05:42 UTC 2005

Moderate Alcohol Consumption Enhances The Formation Of New Nerve Cells

Moderate alcohol consumption over a relatively long period of time can enhance 
the formation of new nerve cells in the adult brain. The new cells could prove 
important in the development of alcohol dependency and other long-term effects 
of alcohol on the brain. The findings are published by Karolinska Institutet.

The study, which was carried out on mice, examined alcohol consumption 
corresponding to that found in normal social situations. The results show that 
moderate drinking enhances the formation of new cells in the adult brain. The 
cells survive and develop into nerve cells in the normal manner. No increase in 
neuronal atrophy, however, could be demonstrated.

It is generally accepted these days that new nerve cells are continually being 
formed in the adult brain. One suggestion is that these new neurons could be 
important for memory and learning. The number of new cells formed is governed 
by a number of factors such as stress, depression, physical activity and 

"We believe that the increased production of new nerve cells during moderate 
alcohol consumption can be important for the development of alcohol addiction 
and other long-term effects of alcohol on the brain," says associate professor 
Stefan Brené.

"It is also possible that it is the ataractic effect of moderate alcohol 
consumption that leads to the formation of new brain cells, much in the same 
way as with antidepressive drugs."

The researchers are now following up these exciting findings to understand the 
role that the new nerve cells thus formed play in cerebral activity.

Publication: Moderate ethanol consumption increases hippocampal cell 
proliferation and neurogenesis in the adult mouse Aberg E, Hofstetter C, Olson 
L, Brené S. Int J Neuropsychopharm Online May 21, 2005, see 

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