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Light Alcohol Consumption May Improve Memory in Seniors Light Alcohol Consumption May Improve Memory in Seniors

Light Alcohol Consumption May Improve Memory in Seniors

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If you're over 60, that glass of wine with dinner may not be such a bad idea, after all. A new study of more than 660 patients has found a connection between light alcohol consumption and the ability to recall memories of specific events. The improvement has been isolated to the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for converting information from short-term memory to long-term memory. The researchers noted a higher volume of the hippocampus of those who consumed light to moderate amounts of alcohol.

In reporting its study results, researchers noted these benefits apply to those who don't suffer from dementia. Additionally, alcohol consumption had no impact on overall mental ability or the brain's executive function. The improvements were noted in patients' episodic memory, which is associated with a person's ability to remember events.

Based on earlier research involving animals, experts believe that with moderate alcohol consumption, a person's hippocampal volume may be preserved due to alcohol's ability to promote the generation of new nerve cells within that area of the brain. Moderate alcohol consumption may also release brain chemicals related to cognitive or information-processing functions. The lead author of the study also noted that there were no significant hippocampal volume differences between those who consumed alcohol late in life and those who were consuming it at midlife. This could be related to the fact that those who haven't been forced to eliminate alcohol consumption due to health reasons as they age are healthier overall, leading to a larger brain volume in general.

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Read 1484 times Last modified on Wednesday, 05 November 2014 11:55
Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and novelist whose work has appeared on NYPost.com, PSMag.com, the Intuit Small Business Blog, and many others. She is the Simon & Schuster author of 8 children's books, including the Piper Morgan chapter book series, 25 Roses, and 30 Days of No Gossip.

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