A group of scientists from the University of Exeter in the U.K. conducted a study to examine how alcohol consumption can affect the brain and its abilities. In the study, they took 88 social drinkers and split them into two groups. They were asked to drink as much as they wished to or none at all. Those that chose to drink, consumed an average of about four units. They were all then given a word-learning task.
After analyzing and examining the data, the researchers came to the conclusion that those who drank alcohol could remember more of what they had learned in the task as compared to the ones who did not drink. The following day they were again asked to do the same task and they performed in a similar manner - those who drank remembered more.
"Our research not only showed that those who drank alcohol did better when repeating the word-learning task, but that this effect was stronger among those who drank more," Celia Morgan, the study researcher said, according to the Telegraph.
"The causes of this effect are not fully understood, but the leading explanation is that alcohol blocks the learning of new information and therefore the brain has more resources available to lay down other recently learned information into long-term memory," she continued.
"The theory is that the hippocampus - the brain area really important in memory - switches to 'consolidating' memories, transferring from short into longer-term memory," Morgan noted.
The results determined by the researchers have been shown earlier under controlled laboratory conditions, however, this was the first study to have tested it in a completely natural setting with people being allowed to drink at their homes.
"The results of this study support the notion that alcohol can facilitate memory for previously learned information. By replicating retrograde facilitation in people drinking in their own homes, this finding extends past laboratory findings," the study concluded.
Although it has been found that alcohol can boost your memory, its negative effects on your overall health should be kept in mind before you grab that drink saying it will help you retain information. Researchers stressed this is a limited positive effect of alcohol in the study, and mentioned the visible and damaging consequences of excessive alcohol consumption on your memory, mental and physical health.
There are other ways to keep your memory healthy, according to livescience.com.
Adequate sleep is an important part of how we consolidate our memories. Poor sleeping habits or patterns will make your memory suffer.
Stress is harmful to brain functioning and keeping your memory healthy. Thus scientists suggest living a balanced lifestyle with proper food, exercise and sleep could delay the risk of memory impairment.
The most important way to reduce cognitive decline is to make your brain work every day and learn new things. Crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles and sudoku help keep your brain in shape and boost memory.
A healthy and adequate amount of food every day is the key to provide your brain the resources it needs to work well and retain what you learn.
As we know, practice makes perfect. That is true for your brains too. Practice building your memory, and keep your brain active.
Return to News Home