Sunday, September 30, 2007

Want To Get Smarter? Drink Danny's Ein Hod Beer Everyday!

You may be hard-pressed to recall events after a night of binge drinking, but a new report suggests that low to moderate alcohol consumption may actually enhance memory.
"There are human epidemiological data of others indicating that mild [to] moderate drinking may paradoxically improve cognition in people compared to abstention," says Maggie Kalev, a research fellow in molecular medicine and pathology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand and a co-author of an article in The Journal of Neuroscience describing results of a study she and other researchers performed on rats. "This is similar to a glass of wine protecting against heart disease, however the mechanism is different. We decided to study if beneficial effects of low-dose alcohol drinking already shown by others," Kalev says, "could be mediated through the mechanism of increasing NR1 expression. We thought it was worth pursuing, since ethanol drinking is such a common pattern of human behavior."
According to Kalev, it is hard to relate the alcohol the rats consumed to human quantities, but "based on their blood alcohol levels, the 2.5 percent ethanol diet was equivalent to a level of consumption that does not exceed [the] legal driving limit. This may be approximately one to two drinks per day for some people or two to three for others, depending upon their size, metabolism or genetic background."
Among the normal rats, the animals that consumed moderate amounts of alcohol fared better on both tests compared with the teetotalers. Rats on a heavy alcohol diet did not do well on object recognition (and, in fact, showed signs of neurotoxicity), but they performed better than their normal brethren on the emotional memory task.
"People often drink to 'drown sorrows,'" Kalev says. "Our results suggest that this could actually paradoxically promote traumatic memories and lead to further drinking, contributing to the development of alcoholism."
Meir Stampfer, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, says that the new work provides a stronger biological basis for studies that he and others have undertaken linking improved memory to moderate alcohol intake. "(from Scientific American)(...more on beer and Danny's ein hod beer)

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