Research Study Suggests How Alcohol Might Improve Memory

Much research demonstrates that drinking alcohol in moderation improves brain function and reduces the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

A new study now suggests that moderate alcohol consumption may also help improve short-term memory as well. However, the researchers found that heavy drinking enhanced highly emotional memories and apparently reinforced them. They conclude that "drinking to forget" is unlikely to be true.

The researchers at New Zealand ‘s Auckland University are investigating the mechanisms whereby moderate alcohol consumption improves short-term memory. They concluded that adaptive changes in hippocampal NMDA receptor expression may contribute to the positive effects of ethanol on cognition. Their study, conducted on rats, holds the potential for developing new treatments for memory disorders such as dementias including Alzheimer's disease as well as for victims of stroke.



  • Kalev-Zylinska, Maggie L. and During, Matthew J. Paradoxical facilitatory effect of low-dose alcohol consumption on memory mediated by NMDA receptors. Journal of Neuroscience, 2007, 27, 10456-10467.

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