Finally, some good news; apparently booze is good for you. A US health and retirement study has found that a daily glass of wine or pint of beer could help middle-aged and elderly people stave off dementia and maintain brain power, hooray!
The science, published in the medical journal JAMA, claims that eight alcoholic drinks a week for women and 15 for men can reduce the rate of cognitive decline, leading to better overall mental health, word recall and vocabulary. Well, how’s about that?
It’s official, I am a study believer. – Katya Edwards
In the study commissioned by the University of Georgia, scientists analysed data from 19,887 people. Each participant underwent a series of tests every two years between 1997 and 2008 to show changes in their health. The study found that drinking 12 alcoholic drinks a week slowed the reduction in cognitive function, 13 a week slowed the reduction for mental status, ten for word recall and 14 for vocabulary. Although, we don’t need science to tell you that about vocabulary – I only need to be a few drinks down in a French bar before I think I am fluent in the language.
What’s more, scientists found that when the scores of the 6,010 low-to-moderate drinkers were compared to those of never-drinkers, the low-to-moderates were “significantly less likely” to be suffering mental decline in the four areas measured than the latter.
I for one am incredibly excited by this news; it’s the second time in as many months that my life choices are favoured by a scientific survey (“significantly” favoured). The first was the link between high nicotine consumption and low coronavirus diagnosis rates, a study that, sure, is mainly being backed by the world’s-most-prolific-smoker David Hockney – but a study’s a study.
And fantastic news as this is: I can’t say I’m particularly shocked. My first boss, an incredibly sharp woman with a brilliant knack for telling stories and an enviable resume (also married to one of London’s top doctors) swore by a cold glass of champagne every night in the same way people take cod liver oil or vitamin D – and I’ve never looked back. Although not quite champagne, I have a cold glass of wine every night as soon as I walk through the door.
The study found that drinking 12 alcoholic drinks a week slowed the reduction in cognitive function. – Katya Edwards
The only thing that worries me is that now after years of cries of “oh who cares”, ” the studies always contradict themselves” or the “lies, damned lies and statistics”, I now have to eat my words. It’s official, I am a study believer.
I’m also not surprised that the optimum amount to drink to keep the brain sharp is the equivalent of one glass of wine for women and two for men. Although it’s hard to admit, one (large) glass of wine is the perfect amount; not too much that you tell your best friend’s secrets but just enough that you’ll wear your pair of pink pom-pom shoes to a party without feeling embarrassed.
The results of the study too are impeccably timed. As the pubs fling open their doors this weekend and we all collectively queue for our first pint from a tap in over 100 days, we must all be sure to remember (because our recall is so fantastic) what good it’s doing for us.
Katya Edwards is a reporter for the Daily Mail.
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