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Light alcohol doses could boost memory

Moderate alcohol drinking could be good for the brain, reveals a new study

india Updated: Oct 26, 2006 17:04 IST

Moderate alcohol drinking could be good for the brain, reveals a new study that may have implications for serious neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, but scientists warn higher doses could cause harm.

Ohio State University researcher Matthew During and colleagues uncovered this neuronal mechanism that may help explain the link between alcohol and improved memory, reported Newswise wire.

The researchers tried various doses of alcohol on rats and measured their memory.

"We saw a noticeable change on the surface of certain neurons in rats that were given alcohol," During said. "This change may have something to do with the positive effects of alcohol on memory."

The researchers presented their findings at the annual Society for Neuroscience Conference in Atlanta.

The researchers said moderate amounts of alcohol - amounts equivalent to a couple of drinks a day for a human being - improved the memories of the laboratory rats.

"We didn't see any toxic effects of low-level alcohol consumption on the brain or the liver," During said. "It didn't damage neurons nor did it cause liver damage during the short study. But the higher dose of alcohol damaged both.

"There is some evidence suggesting that mild to moderate alcohol consumption can protect against diseases like Alzheimer's in humans," said During. "But it's not apparent how this happens."

First Published: Oct 26, 2006 13:45 IST