Alcohol Treatment Center Fallon NV

While too much alcohol can muddle your brain, moderate daily tippling can help keep you thinking clear over the long term, according to two new studies.

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Alcohol's Affect on Brain Health

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While too much alcohol can muddle your brain, moderate daily tippling can help keep you thinking clear over the long term, according to two new studies.

The first—the largest to date—looked at more than 11,000 women ages 70 to 81 and found that those who regularly sipped up to one drink a day were more mentally agile than abstainers. Specifically, they were about 20 percent less likely to score poorly on a cognitive test and 15 percent less likely to see their score drop substantially over a two-year stretch.

A second, smaller study came up with even more impressive findings. Researchers at Wake Forest University followed nearly 4,500 women ages 65 to 79 for an average of four years and concluded that those downing one to three drinks per day were 60 percent less likely to suffer a big hit in cognitive function than teetotalers.

How, exactly, might alcohol help the brain? In several ways, says Mark Espeland, the Wake Forest study’s lead researcher and a professor of biostatistics and epidemiology. “It may work by improving blood flow, increasing levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, or reducing the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Whatever the mechanism, it’s good news for those who enjoy a glass with dinner—perhaps even a reason to start.

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