Light al­co­hol con­sump­tion as­so­ci­ated with bet­ter mem­ory

Health & Nutrition - - HEALTH FLASH -

For peo­ple aged 60 and older, who do not have de­men­tia, light al­co­hol con­sump­tion may im­prove their episodic mem­ory – the abil­ity to re­call mem­o­ries of events – ac­cord­ing to re­search in the ‘Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Alzheimer’s Dis­ease and Other De­men­tias’. Light con­sump­tion was de­fined as one to six drinks per week. The study used data from more than 660 pa­tients in the Fram­ing­ham Heart Study Off­spring Co­hort. Re­searchers found that light al­co­hol in­take is linked to a larger hip­pocam­pal brain vol­ume and can in­crease the re­lease of brain chem­i­cals in­volved with in­for­ma­tion pro­cess­ing. The hip­pocam­pus con­verts short-term mem­o­ries into longterm ones and helps mem­ory re­call. Al­co­hol is also be­lieved to trig­ger the re­lease of spe­cific pro­teins that are ben­e­fi­cial to the brain, says re­searcher Dr Brain Downer, PhD, from the Uni­ver­sity of Texas Med­i­cal Branch. Also, many al­co­holic bev­er­ages, like red wine, con­tain chem­i­cals that func­tion as an­tiox­i­dants to pro­tect brain cells from harm­ful free rad­i­cals, says Dr Downer. Of course, bal­ance and mod­er­a­tion are para­mount when it comes to al­co­holic in­take. And adults with spe­cific med­i­cal con­di­tions or who take cer­tain med­i­ca­tions should not drink al­co­hol (make sure to check with your doc­tor.)

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