A Norwegian study has found that light to moderate wine consumption was associated with better cognitive function. – in other words a glass of wine a few times a week could keep your brain in trim!
The research in the Tromsø Study in northern Norway, published in Acta Neurologica Scandinavica, studied the drinking habits of 5,033 men and women who averaged 58 years of age, over a seven-year period, including some teetotallers.
It revealed that drinking wine in moderate amounts may reduce the risk of decline in thinking skills in some people and may even protect against dementia. The wine drinkers scored better than teetotallers on a range of tests of cognitive function, or thinking skills.
Those volunteers who drank four or more glasses of wine every two weeks scored significantly better than those who didn’t drink at all, even after adjusting for age, education, weight, depression and cardiovascular disease – the major risk factors for cognitive decline.
The study found that:
Women who didn’t drink at all usually had lower cognitive abilities than those who did.
Women who drink wine at least four times over a two-week period were at reduced risk of scoring poorly on the tests, compared with women who had less than one drink during the period.
Drinking wine, but not beer and spirits, was positively associated with cognitive function in women.
Both beer and wine consumption was associated with better cognitive test scores in men.
What the study did not take into account was the fact that people who drink moderate amounts of wine may lead healthier lifestyles, by eating better or exercising more regularly.
However, the researchers point out that most of the studies done on wine and brain health in the past all show better cognitive function from moderate alcohol intake.
In the last three decades, nearly 68 studies comprising 145,308 men and women from various populations with various drinking patterns have investigated the association between moderate alcohol intake and cognitive function.
Most of the studies showed that light to moderate alcohol consumption can improve cognitive function and reduce risk of dementia, including both vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
It is possible, the researchers say, the positive effects of drinking wine could be due to the fact that it contains antioxidants and other micro-elements.
Alcohol also may be protective because it reduces inflammation of artery walls, improving blood flow.
But whatever the reason, it appears clear that light-to-moderate wine drinking is associated with higher scores on cognitive tests!