Drinking Alcohol Good for Memory and Thinking

Women who consume alcohol moderately on a daily basis are about 20% less likely than abstainers to experience poor memory and decreased thinking abilities, according to recent research. The senior author of the study explains that “Women who consistently were drinking about one-half to one drink per day had both less cognitive impairment as well as less decline in their cognitive function compared to women who didn’t drink at all.”

Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital analyzed data from 12,480 women age 70 to 81 who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study beginning in 1980.The study was twice as large as any earlier study and also investigated the effects of different forms of alcohol on cognition and memory.

It didn’t matter whether the women drank beer, wine, or liquor (distilled spirits). The positive effects of the alcoholic beverages were all the same.

Although the study only examined women, previous research indicates that men benefit from substantially higher levels of alcohol consumption - one to two drinks each day.

 

References:

  • Stampfer, M.J., et al. Effects of moderate alcohol consumption on cognitive function in women. New England Journal of Medicine, 2005, 352, 245-253; Heslam, Jessica. Women age better with a fine wine: Study: Alcohol helps memory. Boston Herald, January 20, 2005; Stein, Rob. Study: Moderate drinking good for cognitive health. Washington Post, January 20, 2005.

filed under: Brain

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