Moderate Alcohol Drinking Helps Memory

Moderate drinking among older women can benefit memory according to research at the University of Texas funded by the National Institutes of Health.

"Moderate drinkers reported less depression, had higher self-reported health, performed better on instrumental everyday tasks, had stronger memory self-efficacy and improved memory performance," said Dr. Graham McDougall, who led the research.

The performance memory tests include such topics as remembering a story, route, hidden objects, future intentions and connecting random numbers and letters. In all cases, the group who drank scored better than those who did not drink. "In addition to their actual performance on tests, the confidence of those who drank was higher and they used more strategies to facilitate memory," Dr. McDougall said.

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Women who drank alcohol in moderation (defined as consuming up to two drinks of beer, wine or spirits per day) also performed better on attention, concentration, psychomotor skills, verbal-associative capacities and oral fluency.


  • McDougall, Graham. Older Women's Cognitive and Affective Response to Moderate Drinking. Presented at the meetings of the National Congress on the State of Science in Nursing Research. Washington, D.C., October 7-8,2004; University of Texas at Austin. Moderate drinking in older adult women has positive influence on memory. News release, October 3,2004.

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