Wine for brain health? Maybe

The alcohol wars are akin to a game of ping pong – a soon as some experts publish a piece of evidence that moderate regular intake of alcohol, especially wine, may be good for you, you can be sure that within days, perhaps within hours or even minutes, some other experts will aver that no, alcohol is never good for you, not even in moderate amounts, not even a blessed glass or 2 of pinot noir from California or a beautiful glass of Chablis from where else but Chablis (can you guess which camp of experts I tend to believe?)

So expect some blowback soon from a recent study appearing in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease that concluded that “regular, moderate drinking may play a role in cognitively healthy longevity” or in plainer non-study English, that those people who drink moderate amounts of alcohol lately have a greater chance of reaching age 85 without dementia or significant cognitive impairment than people who don’t drink alcohol regularly.

Interestingly, in this study, “heavy” alcohol users also had healthier brains in old age than non-drinkers did.

There are the usual caveats to throw at this study: researchers really only looked at a very specific demographic group (white, middle class Americans), people who can afford to drink regularly often have lots of other differences such as income and education levels from people who cannot afford to drink regularly, people who don’t drink regularly may be more prone to dementia in the first place (no, that’s not what you think I said it means but rather that it may be that some people who have a premonition that their brain health isn’t up to par may stop drinking to try to help their condition so really their eventual dementia has nothing to do with their lack of alcohol intake), and so on.

But hey, in this particular war, like in all wars, you gotta pick your side, so I choose to believe that my pretty regular glass or two of wine in the evening helps keep my brain healthy.