50+ health * Healthy living

Moderate drinking improves cognitive tests

Moderate drinking improves cognitive tests Two drinks a week raise your scores

Moderate wine drinking has been found to improve performance on cognitive tests, according to new research.

A study in Norway followed 5033 men and women, on average aged 58, for seven years, during which they took a range of cognitive function tests. The tests found that women who drank wine at least four or more times over two weeks did less badly on cognitive tests than those who drank less than once in the same period. The study took into account other factors that might affect cognitive function, such as age, education, weight, depression, and cardiovascular disease.

Not drinking was associated with with significantly lower cognitive performance in women, the authors said.

The results of this study support findings from previous research on the topic. The relationship between moderate alcohol intake and cognitive function has been investigated in 68 studies over three decades, comprising 145,308 people from various populations with various drinking patterns.

Most studies show an association between light to moderate alcohol consumption and better cognitive function and reduced risk of dementia, including both vascular dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.

Scientists believe the effects relate to the presence in wine of a number of antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline with ageing. Mechanisms that have been suggested for alcohol itself being protective against cognitive decline include effects on atherosclerosis, coagulation, and reducing inflammation.

This article was published on Wed 18 August 2010

Image © scarletus - Fotolia.com

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