(HealthDay News) – Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with greater white matter damage in people who do not regularly do aerobic exercise, according to a study published online April 2 in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Hollis C. Karoly, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and colleagues surveyed 60 adults about their alcohol consumption, loss of control over drinking, and aerobic exercise, and assessed their white matter integrity via diffusion tensor imaging.

Using fractional anisotropy, the researchers found that alcohol consumption was associated with damage to the capsule and superior longitudinal fasciculus in participants who did not exercise regularly. Similarly, greater alcohol consumption was more strongly associated with loss of control among low exercisers.

“These results indicate that the association between heavy alcohol consumption and white matter damage in the external capsule and superior longitudinal fasciculus and the association between alcohol consumption and loss of control over drinking are greater among individuals who do not exercise regularly,” Karoly and colleagues conclude.

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