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Study: Daily Wine Dose helps jog Seniors Memory

Posted: Monday, 27 October 2014 12:48

Study: Daily Wine Dose helps jog Seniors Memory

Oct 27: A new study by researchers from the Universities of Texas, Kentucky and Maryland in the US claims that seniors who drink moderately have a significantly better ability to recall memories of events than those who do not drink at all or who drink a lot more, according to scientists.

Researchers studied the habits of more than 660 people who completed surveys about their alcohol consumption pattern, took various neuropsychological tests and underwent MRI scans of their brains. Moderate alcohol consumption - up to two alcohol beverages a day, amongst those over 60 was found to preserve the region of the brain responsible for memory and cognition. However, younger people considered light or moderate drinkers do not benefit in the same way, the study reports.

Brian Downer, lead author of the report, said the amount that people drank in middle age had no bearing on their cognitive functions when they got older. "This may be due to the fact that adults who are able to continue consuming alcohol into old age are healthier, and therefore have higher cognition and larger regional brain volumes than people who had to decrease their alcohol consumption due to unfavourable health outcomes,” he added.

This study also utilized data from the well-known Framingham Heart Study to examine the relationship between midlife and late-life alcohol consumption, cognitive functioning, and regional brain volumes among older adults without having dementia or any history of abusing alcohol. The results from multiple linear regression models indicate that in the late life, but not midlife, alcohol consumption status is associated with episodic memory and hippocampal volume.

Compared to late life abstainers, moderate consumers had larger hippocampal volume, and light consumers had higher episodic memory. The differences in episodic memory according to late life alcohol consumption status were no longer significant when hippocampal volume was included in the regression model. The findings from this study provide new evidence that hippocampal volume may contribute to the observed differences in episodic memory among older adults and late life alcohol consumption status.

“Patients who were light alcohol consumers during late life had significantly higher episodic memory compared to late life abstainers, whereas no significant differences between moderate and heavy alcohol consumers were detected compared to abstainers.”

The study also found that most people drank less in old age than in middle age and that middle-aged men are more likely than middle-aged women to drink heavily. Those aged over 60 who did not drink at all were less likely to have gone through higher education and were also less likely to have smoked when younger, according to the Study.

Even though moderate alcohol intake of two or three drinks per day was linked to improved memory, the study author Faika Zanjani, an associate professor of behavioral and community health at the University of Maryland, does not recommend exceeding the standard one-drink-a-day advice. “We constantly recommend that people not consume more than one drink a day. So when we actually find benefits for the moderate level, we’re pretty surprised. In fact, downing more than one a day is generally considered a little bit dangerous from a disease perspective, she told Yahoo Health.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias.

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