Tuesday, February 01, 2005

One Drink Daily May Drop Risk of Mental Decline

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A recently published research article in the New England Journal of Medicine (Jan. 20, 2005; vol 352: pp 245-253) studied 120,000 female nurses for almost 30 years comparing among other things the effect of alcohol consumption on their mental abilities as they aged. The women's thinking was quizzed via telephone. In one test, they named as many animals as possible in a minute. They also reversed an increasingly long series of numbers and recalled details from text read to them. Two years later, the tests were repeated. The study shows that older women who consumed up to one drink per day performed better than nondrinkers. They also maintained more of their mental sharpness, and had a smaller risk of a decline in mental skills seen during the period when the two tests were performed.