Texas study finds couple of drinks can help memory

Older women who have a drink or two a day have better memory skills than non-drinkers, University of Texas researchers said on Wednesday.

“Moderate drinkers reported less depression, had higher self-reported health, performed better on instrumental everyday tasks…and (had) improved memory performance,” Dr. Graham McDougall, associate professor of nursing at the university, said in a statement.

The five-year survey, which began in 2001, is looking at men and women with an average age 75 in central Texas.

As part of the study, a group of women were asked to remember items such as a story, the placement of hidden objects, future intentions and connecting random numbers and letters.

Those who drank alcohol in moderation did better on the tests than those who did not drink at all, according to the study.

“In addition to their actual performance on tests, the confidence of those who drank was higher and they used more strategies to facilitate memory,” McDougall said.

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Revision date: June 20, 2011
Last revised: by Dave R. Roger, M.D.