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Over 60? Moderate Alcohol Consumption is Good for You

Update Date: Oct 25, 2014 07:19 PM EDT

Senior citizens can gain memory benefits through moderate alcohol consumption, researchers claim.

The Telegraph reported significantly better recall ability in older people who take between one and six drinks a week compared to those who consume excessive alcohol or are abstainers. Researchers attribute moderate consumption benefits to alcohol's ability to preserve the hippocampus part of the brain. However the same benefits were not seen in the young irrespective of their consumption. To arrive at their conclusions, researchers studied alcohol consumption of 660 people. The study was undertaken by team of scientists from Universities of Texas, Kentucky and Maryland.

"There were no significant differences in cognitive functioning and regional brain volumes during late life according to reported midlife alcohol consumption status. This may be due to the fact that adults who are able to continue consuming alcohol into old age are healthier, and therefore have higher cognition and larger regional brain volumes, than people who had to decrease their alcohol consumption due to unfavourable health outcomes," said lead author Brian Downer in a press release.

Researchers collected data through questionnaires on alcohol consumption neuropsychological assessment and MRI scans. They also determined if the subjects are at risk for Alzheimer's.

The researchers found that most people drank less as they aged and middle-aged men were more prone to heavy drinking.

According to Yahoo News, though wine is preferred over other alcohol drinks, past research shows that all drinks are the same when accruing benefits for the consumers. Researchers also cautioned that only moderate consumption, around two or three drinks per day, can accrue benefits. Heavy consumption does more harm than good.

All of these improvements actually reverse when people drink more than three drinks per day," said Faika Zanjani, study author from University of Maryland according to Yahoo News.

The findings of the study have been published in the American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias.

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