Alcohol helps older women's grey cells

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Older women who have a drink or two a day have better memory skills
than non-drinkers, announced researchers from the University of
Texas this week.

"Moderate drinkers reported less depression, had higher self-reported health, performed better on instrumental everyday tasks and had improved memory performance,"​ said Dr. Graham McDougall, associate professor of nursing at the university​, in a statement.

The five-year survey, which began in 2001, is looking at men and women with an average age of 75, who live in central Texas.

As part of the study, a group of women were asked to carry out tasks such as remembering a story, the placement of hidden objects, future intentions, and were asked to connect random numbers and letters.

"In addition to their performance on tests, the confidence of those who drank was higher and they used more strategies to facilitate memory,"​ McDougall said.

Those who drank alcohol in moderation did better on the tests than those who did not drink at all, concluded the researchers.

However, this is not necessarily good news for nations like Britain, whose drinkers, according to recent research by market analyst Mintel are increasingly justifying their habits with the findings that it can be good for their health.

The research showed that the number of Brits who drank alcohol because they believed that it could have health benefits had risen from 19 per cent in January 2002, to one in four (26 per cent) consumers questioned in 2004.

But men were considerably more likely to be of the opinion that alcohol was good for their health (30 per cent), compared to 23 per cent of women, with less than 10 per cent of consumers believing that alcohol is bad for you.

The survey of around 1,000 consumers also found that some 21 per cent of men admitted that alcohol is great for relieving stress.

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