Moderate alcohol drinking may protect your brain, this study shows

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In a new study, researchers found that moderate alcohol consumption—a glass or two per day—might actually preserve your memory and thinking skills.

This benefit held true for both men and women.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of Georgia.

The team tested nearly 20,000 Americans and tracked them for an average of nine years. The participants averaged about 62 years of age at the beginning of the study and 60% were women.

The range of drinking considered “low to moderate” in the study was set at less than eight drinks per week for women and less than 15 drinks per week for men.

They found that low to moderate drinking was strongly linked to a consistently high cognitive function trajectory and a lower rate of cognitive decline compared to people who never drank.

Drink more frequently, and any benefit to the brain begins to fade and even turn into possible harm.

The findings suggest that moderate drinking does no harm to thinking skills, and may even provide a benefit.

But there are always downsides to drinking, including its effects on the heart and blood pressure, the team warns.

The current findings are in line with previous research. For example, a major study of Californians found that moderate alcohol consumption was tied to better cognitive function among folks averaging about 73 years of age.

And data from the ongoing Nurses’ Health Study found that drinking that didn’t exceed more than a drink per day seemed linked to a slowing of cognitive decline for women in their 70s.

But the researchers say none of this means that Americans can go out and raise multiple glasses of booze to good health, however, because problem drinking is a major cause of suffering across the United States.

One author of the study is Changwei Li, an epidemiologist.

The study is published in JAMA Network Open.

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