Short-term alcohol intake can increase the activity of functional connections across the human brain when it is at rest, according to research published Oct 31 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Panagiotis Bamidis and colleagues from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.
Previous studies have shown that alcohol intake increases transmission of signals by the neurotransmitter GABA, present in 40% of the connections between nerve cells in the brain.
Here, the researchers monitored resting brain activity in healthy social drinkers who had consumed one drink, and found a significant increase in the activity of these connections.
According to the authors, this increase in baseline brain activity is at least partially due to the alcohol-induced increase in GABA-mediated signal transmission.
Lithari C, Klados MA, Pappas C, Albani M, Kapoukranidou D, et al. (2012) Alcohol Affects the Brain's Resting-State Network in Social Drinkers. PLoS ONE 7(10): e48641. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048641