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Drinking And Mental Sharpness

Wednesday, 12 April 2006 12:00 AM

Moderate drinking may help women stay mentally sharp, according to a new study from Columbia University.

Neurologist Clinton Wright and his colleagues analyzed cognitive testing data from 2,215 stroke free men and women over 40 from the New York area. The investigators also used ultrasound to assess the formation of plaque in carotid arteries.

Participants were divided into never drinkers, former drinkers, light drinkers (less than one drink weekly), moderate drinkers (one or two per day), and heavy drinkers (more than two per day).

Overall, the study showed that moderate drinking women -- but not men -- scored significantly better than never drinkers in mental acuity.

There were no significant differences in acuity between never-drinkers, former drinkers, light drinkers, or heavy drinkers of either sex. The study found no link association between carotid artery plaque and alcohol intake or cognitive performance.

"The lack of a mediating effect of large vessel atherosclerosis provides evidence that other mechanisms may be involved, and future studies that clarify the importance of small-vessel damage, platelet function, and inflammation are needed," the authors said.

In a statement accompanying the study the American Heart Association stated that non-drinkers should not start drinking alcohol in order to gain health benefits. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of alcoholism, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, breast cancer, suicide and accidents, the AHA said.

The study appeared in the journal, Stroke.

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Moderate drinking may help women stay mentally sharp, according to a new study from Columbia University. Neurologist Clinton Wright and his colleagues analyzed cognitive testing data from 2,215 stroke free men and women over 40 from the New York area. The investigators...
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Wednesday, 12 April 2006 12:00 AM
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