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World Brain Day 2022: How to Keep Your Brain Active

Every year on July 22, World Brain Day is observed to raise public awareness about brain health. According to the World Federation of Neurology, this year’s theme is “Brain Health for All,” as “our brains continue to be challenged by pandemics, wars, climate change, and the myriad of disorders impacting human existence globally.”

As we commemorate this day, let us consider the impact of alcohol on our brain health. Did you know that it only takes five minutes for alcohol to reach your brain and ten minutes for it to start having an effect?

“Your body responds quickly to alcohol,” says Dr Sachin Kandhari, Senior Neurosurgeon and Managing Director of the Institute of Brain and Spine (IBS) Hospital in New Delhi. It enters your bloodstream after being absorbed through the lining of your stomach. It then spreads throughout your body’s tissues.”

The signs of intoxication are determined by the effects of alcohol on various areas of the brain. “This is because different brain functions are performed by different regions of the brain,” he explained.

Let us examine the alcohol cycle as it affects different parts of the brain one by one.

First, it affects the cerebral cortex/cerebrum. “This region of the brain controls judgement, thinking, and the inhibition of impulsive behaviour,” Dr. Kandhari explained. Alcohol can impair cerebral cortex thinking processes, potentially leading to poor judgment. Alcohol reduces inhibition, making people more talkative and confident.”

Following that, alcohol has an effect on the cerebellum, which is in charge of movement and balance. “People may experience a loss of balance, uncoordinated movements, and other symptoms in order to avoid falling or having slurred speech.”

How does it impact you?

As previously stated, alcohol affects parts of the brain that are in charge of balance, memory, speech, and judgment. As a result, the frequency of injuries and adverse speech and concentration outcomes is increasing.

“Alcohol has numerous physiological effects. Some effects are brief and immediate, while others accumulate over time and can have a significant impact on your physical, mental, and overall quality of life,” Dr Kandhari explained.

While many people drink alcohol on occasion because it improves our mood in the short term, it can have long-term negative effects on our mental health. “It has been linked to a wide range of mental health issues, including depression, memory loss, and suicide,” the expert explained.

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