Intended for healthcare professionals

CCBYNC Open access

Alcohol consumption and brain health

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 06 June 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2645

Re: Alcohol consumption and brain health

At last, a research paper and an Editorial providing objective, unemotive and incredibly helpful data and conclusions in relation to alcohol intake and risk of brain damage. The impact of the study should be enormous but unfortunately years of experience working in the field of Addiction Medicine suggest that even clinicians in the field will find ways to discount the importance of this study. Australia has had 20 gm per day of alcohol as a maximum safe level for a number of years as recommended by the NHMRC Guidelines on Alcohol Use. This document which recommended the reduction in total consumption per week was met with significant resistance at first but it was based on evidence. This new work adds to the need for all who work in this specialty area to accept the reality that regular intake alters the brain and in so doing alters the patient's capacity to make the rational decisions they need to make to reduce intake.

The Editorial on the paper is a classic academic summary with real impact. An exciting issue of the Journal.

Competing interests: No competing interests

05 October 2017
Robert G Batey
Clinical Professor, Sydney University
Department of Medicine Alice Springs Hospital Northern Territory Australia