If you're a wino who prizes your white matter, just work out, according to a new study. It makes a connection between two areas of previous research: that heavy drinkers are more likely to display damage to their brain's white matter (which is what allows different parts of the brain to communicate), and that exercise helps the brain. The study did indeed find that those who were regular exercisers didn't show a link between heavy drinking and such white matter damage. But there are caveats, LiveScience reports.
First of all, exercising doesn't give you a license to binge drink, the researchers point out, since heavy drinking harms other organs and other parts of the brain, like gray matter. Also, this study only looked at brains once; future research should follow participants over time, acknowledges one of the researchers involved. And, of course, it's possible that it's not exercise but some other behavior shared by regular exercisers (say, a good diet) that shields the brain. (Read more alcohol stories.)