Alcohol improves memory in later years

Posted on October 27, 2014

For people over 60, light or moderate alcohol intake is associated with better recall of past events, according to a new study. Links were also found between increased size of the hippocampus — the area of the brain crucial to memory — and moderate alcohol consumption.

The study, published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias, used data from almost 700 people who have been followed since the 1970s. The results showed that people who drank alcohol lightly or moderately had better memories for past events, although there was no association with overall mental ability.

There were no significant differences in cognitive functioning and regional brain volumes during late life according to reported midlife alcohol consumption status. This may be due to the fact that adults who are able to continue consuming alcohol into old age are healthier, and therefore have higher cognition and larger regional brain volumes, than people who had to decrease their alcohol consumption due to unfavorable health outcomes.

Naturally, it’s proven that extended periods of alcohol abuse — defined as five or more drinks a day — can damage the brain. But, light to moderate alcohol intake has been consistently linked with lower risk of dementia and cognitive decline in later years.

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Source material from PSY Blog