In the largest brain imaging study of risky behavior (in the drinking, smoking, driving, and sexual domains) to date, in a sample that is representative of the UK population (N=12,675), we identified robust negative associations between risky behavior, as well as its associated genetic disposition (estimated using a polygenic risk score), and grey matter volumes of distinct brain regions.
In a study of 19,825 adults, we found that that greater alcohol consumption was associated with lower global gray and white matter volume, suggesting that even moderate alcohol consumption can have negative effects on brain health.
In a brain imaging study of approximately 40,000 participants from the UK’s Biobank cohort, we found that an assembly of brain regions known as the default network showed the most differences in cortical volume associated with loneliness. Lonely individuals displayed stronger functional communication in this network and greater microstructural integrity of the fornix pathway. Collectively this evidence suggests that loneliness may increase the frequency of reminiscence and imagination aimed at filling the social void.
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