Light to moderate weekly alcohol consumption during middle age could help preserve brain function as we get older. Compared to non-drinkers, those who had a drink or two a day tended to have better performance on cognitive tests over time. The study examined the link between alcohol consumption and changes in cognitive function over time among middle-aged and older adults in the U.S.
Zhang and his team developed a way to track cognition performance over 10 years using participant data from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study. During the study, a total of 19,887 participants completed surveys every two years about their health and lifestyle, including questions on drinking habits. Light to moderate drinking is defined as fewer than eight drinks per week for women and 15 drinks or fewer per week among men.