Livin' on the MDedge

Raise a glass to speed up the brain’s aging process


Drink a day could age your brain

There are many things we can do daily to improve our health: Exercise, read a book, eat an apple (supposedly). Not drink a glass of red wine. Wait, not drink? That’s right. We were told that a glass of red wine each night was doing something good for our hearts, but it’s doing something bad to our brains: Aging them prematurely.

According to a recent study in Nature Communications, drinking half a pint of beer a day could age the brain of a 50-year-old by 6 months. A pint of beer equaled 2 years of aging and a pint and a half aged participants’ brains by 3.5 years.

Alcoholic beverages Courtesy Debora Cartagena, USCDCP

Compared with people who didn’t drink, those who averaged about two pints of beer or two glasses of wine daily had brains aged 10 years older!

The researchers’ analysis included MRI scans of about 37,000 middle-aged men in the United Kingdom, along with their medical information and drinking habits, Everyday Health reported. They determined volume reductions in two parts of the brain potentially impacted by daily consumption of alcohol: White matter, which controls the senses and communication, and gray matter, which controls cognitive functions such as movement, emotions, and memories.

Normal brain aging is bad enough: Stuff like forgetting why we walked into the kitchen or having a word we want to use on the tips of our tongues. Who knew that happy hour could be speeding up the process?

Bartender, make that mimosa a virgin.

A big dose of meta-cine

The metaverse is big news in the tech world. For those who are less technologically inclined or haven’t thrown a few hundred dollars at a clunky virtual reality headset, the metaverse is a vaguely defined artificial reality world, brought to you by Facebo-, excuse us, Meta, where you hang out with people using a virtual avatar and do various activities, all from the comfort of your own home.

Front of a CVS pharmacy at night Piqsels

That’s not the most helpful definition, if we’re being honest, and that’s partially because the metaverse, as it’s being pushed by companies such as Meta, is very new and kind of a Wild West. No one really knows what it’ll be used for, but that’s not going to stop big business from pushing to secure their own corners of a new and exciting market, and that brings us to CVS, which is looking to become the first pharmacy in the metaverse.

Specifically, the company is looking to provide the entirety of its health care services – nonemergency medical care, wellness programs, nutrition advice, and counseling – to the metaverse. That makes sense. Telemedicine has become big during the pandemic, and bringing that care to the metaverse could work. Probably overcomplicated, since the sort of person who couldn’t figure out a video call to a doctor probably won’t be spending much time in the metaverse, but hey, if they can make it work, more power to them.

Where things get a bit silly is the online store. CVS looking to sell not only NFTs (because of course it is), but also downloadable virtual goods, including “prescription drugs, health, wellness, beauty, and personal care products,” according to the company’s claim to the U.S. Patent Trade Office. What exactly is a downloadable virtual prescription drug? Excellent question. We’re picturing holographic meatloaf, but the true answer is bound to be sillier than anything SpongeBob and friends could conjure.


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