Drinking Alcohol Helps Brain Cognition

A study of 1,018 men and women age 65-79 whose physical and mental health was monitored for an average of 23 years found that “drinking no alcohol, or too much, increases risk of cognitive impairment,” in the words of the editor of the British Medical Journal, which published the study.

These results are consistent with other research demonstrating that light to moderate drinking has a protective effect on the brain compared to abstention and heavy drinking.

Only that minority of the population who are carriers of the apolipoprotein e4 allele gene had an increased risk of dementia with frequent alcohol consumption.

Those who simply read the headlines, such as “Frequent Alcohol Drinking in Middle Age Harms the Brain” and “Drinking Alcohol in Your 40’s Increases Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment, ” would be mislead. They wouldn’t realize that the study actually confirms that moderate drinking is better for the brain than either abstaining or drinking heavily for most people. That’s the finding of most of the research on the subject.



  • Antilla, Tiia, et al. Alcohol drinking in middle age and subsequent risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia in old age: a prospective population based study. British Medical Journal, 2004, 329, 538-539; Daily Alcohol in Your 40’s Increases Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment. News-Medical.Net, September 3, 2004; Frequent Alcohol Drinking in Middle Age Harms the Brain. NewsWire, September 3, 2004.

Filed Under: Health Brain

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