"As people age, their brains shrink, on average, at a rate of about 1.9% per decade. That's considered normal. But heavy drinking speeds the shrinkage of certain key regions in the brain, resulting in memory loss and other symptoms of dementia.
Heavy drinking can also lead to subtle but potentially debilitating deficits in the ability to plan, make judgments, solve problems, and other aspects of 'executive function,' which are 'the higher-order abilities that allow us to maximize our function as human beings,' says James C. Garbutt, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.
In addition to the 'nonspecific' dementia that stems from brain atrophy, heavy drinking can cause nutritional deficiencies so severe that they trigger other forms of dementia." *