I find the headline surprising, since many of the stupid decisions we make is often under the influence of alcohol. However, a recent study that examined alcohol consumption and brain health is quite provocative. The researchers tracked 20,000 Americans over nine years and correlated low to moderate drinking with a lower rate of cognitive decline and consistently higher cognitive function. The study didn’t necessarily say that alcohol preserved brain function but only that there was a positive correlation between moderate drinking and brain health.
Under the guidelines of the study, moderate consumption was defined as less than 8 drinks per week for women and less than 15 drinks per week for men. The researchers measured cognitive functions including memory, overall knowledge and vocabulary. They found that moderate drinking did not impair thinking skills. This study confirms a previous one, smaller in scope, which found moderate alcohol consumption was tied to better cognitive function in individuals averaging 73 years of age. The researchers cautioned that these results should not be a stimulus to go out and drink since there are other negative aspects of alcohol.
Now when I have a drink or two after a long bike ride I will no longer claim I’m indulging myself but rather just maintaining brain health.