From Daily Drink Helps Keep Brain Sharp, Data Suggest, in the Washington Post:
Women who imbibe a little wine, beer or even spirits every day are less likely than teetotalers to see their memories and other thinking powers fade as they age, according to the largest study to assess alcohol's impact on the brain.
"Low levels of alcohol appear to have cognitive benefits," said Francine Grodstein of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, senior author on the study, published in today's New England Journal of Medicine.
While the study involved only women, the findings probably hold true for men, although previous research indicates that men seem to benefit from drinking slightly more -- one to two drinks per day, researchers said.
The findings provide the latest evidence that indulging in alcohol, long vilified as part of an insalubrious lifestyle, can actually help people live longer, healthier lives. While heavy drinking clearly causes serious problems for many people, recent research has found that drinking in moderation protects the heart. A few small studies have similarly suggested that alcohol may help the brain. The new study is by far the largest and most detailed to examine that question.
Sweet news and great use of the word "insalubrious." But remember, though it may prevent cognitive decline and protect your heart, drinking will never make you a better driver.