I’ll drink to that: Alcohol actually helps your memory, study claims
A team of researchers at the University of Exeter found that individuals who drink alcohol after studying are better at recalling information.
The study involved 88 social drinkers, 31 men and 57 women aged 18 to 53, who were given a word-learning exercise.
The subjects were then divided into two groups. People in the first one were told to drink as much as they wanted, while the others were prohibited from drinking.
When the researchers tested their subjects on what they had learned the next day, it was found that people in the first group, who consumed four units of alcohol on average, were better at retaining the required information.
Professor Celia Morgan said: “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,” the Telegraph reported.
“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.
“The theory is that the hippocampus - the brain area really important in memory - switches to ‘consolidating’ memories, transferring from short into longer-term memory.”
The findings correspond to earlier studies which found a similar connection between moderate drinking and improved memory, though all previous experiments were conducted in laboratory settings.
The scientists, however, cautioned that this newly-found limited positive effect of alcohol consumption should be balanced against the extensive negative effect that excessive alcohol has on mental and physical health.