If you're over 60, drink up: It may better memory
For people 60 and older who do not have dementia, light alcohol consumption during late life is associated with higher episodic memory -- the ability to recall memories of events -- researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, University of Kentucky, and University of Maryland said.
Moderate alcohol consumption was also linked with a larger volume in the hippocampus, a brain region critical for episodic memory. The relationship between light alcohol consumption and episodic memory goes away if hippocampal volume is factored in, providing new evidence that hippocampal functioning is the critical factor in these improvements. These findings were detailed in the American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias.
The researchers found that light and moderate alcohol consumption in older people is associated with higher episodic memory and is linked with larger hippocampal brain volume. Amount of alcohol consumption had no impact on executive function or overall mental ability.
Although the potential benefits of light to moderate alcohol consumption to cognitive learning and memory later in life have been consistently reported, extended periods of abusing alcohol, often defined as having five or more alcoholic beverages during a single drinking occasion is known to be harmful to the brain.
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