Having two alcoholic drinks a day may slow mental decline and preserve brain function, according to a new study.

The research, published in JAMA Network Open, examined the link between alcohol consumption and changes in brain function over time among middle-aged and older adults.

Moderate drinking has been found to increase a protein known as the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which helps the brain to develop new cells and strengthen existing ones.

The effects of low to moderate alcohol consumption has also been highlighted in previous studies for protecting the brain from dementia or Alzheimer’s.

A 2018 study published in the journal Scientific Reports found low levels of alcohol can reduce brain inflammation and clear toxins, including those linked to Alzheimer’s.

In this new paper, researchers from the University of Georgia (UGA) are the first to track alcohol consumption effects on cognition performance over ten years, using participant data from a nationally representative sample from the Health and Retirement Study in the US.

A total of 19,887 participants completed surveys every two years about their health and lifestyle, including questions on drinking habits.

They also had their cognitive function measured in a series of tests looking at their overall mental status, word recall, and vocabulary.  

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