T Nation

Drinking Makes You Smarter...


#1

Well, more precisely, "[a] study of 7,000 people in their early 20s, 40s and 60s found that those who drank within safe limits had better verbal skills, memory and speed of thinking than those at the extremes of the drinking spectrum. The safe consumption level was considered to be 14 to 28 standard drinks a week for a man and seven to 14 for a woman."

It doesn't mention improved body comp or anything, but it's nice to see the adage "moderation in all things" holding up under the scrutiny of modern science.

Especially with respect to my red wine with dinner...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,5254614-110732,00.html

Official: drinking improves thinking

Bernard O'Riordan in Sydney
Thursday August 4, 2005

Guardian
It is guaranteed to raise a cheer among those who enjoy a tipple: moderate drinkers are better thinkers than teetotallers or those who overindulge.

Research by the Australian National University in Canberra suggests drinking in moderation boost your brainpower. But none at all, or too much, can make you a dullard.

A study of 7,000 people in their early 20s, 40s and 60s found that those who drank within safe limits had better verbal skills, memory and speed of thinking than those at the extremes of the drinking spectrum. The safe consumption level was considered to be 14 to 28 standard drinks a week for a man and seven to 14 for a woman.

Questions ranged from verbal reasoning problems to tests of short-term memory. Surprisingly, perhaps, teetotallers were twice as likely as occasional drinkers to achieve the lowest scores.

Bryan Rodgers, from ANU's Centre for Mental Health Research, said moderate drinkers not only performed the best, but also seemed to be the healthiest. "This does not necessarily show moderate alcohol use is good for our brains - there may be other reasons we haven't measured to explain the poor performance of non-drinkers," Dr Rodgers said.

The results may reflect the fact that alcohol can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and increase blood flow to the brain - factors linked to improved mental function. They also support research that suggests moderate alcohol intake can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by improving circulation.

The Australian study is part of a 20-year project started in 1999 to examine the changes in thinking and mood as people age.


#2

28? That's a lot. I've often heard that 1-2 drinks a day has mental and health benefits. But 28 is 4 drinks per day assuming daily drinking. 5 drinks or more in a short period (such as the few hours after coming home from work) is considered binge drinking. Not to mention the empty calories, which as you said, the study did not discuss.


#3

Of course drinking makes you smarter because it kills brain cells.

As Darwin has taught us, the weak, infirm and stupid are the first to die in the herd.

So of course alcohol picks off all the dumb and slow brain cells, leaving us smarter.


#4

You know, as much as I like the idea, the research doesn't show a causitive effect at all.

They found a correlation, which is a far different thing.


#5

I've heard that Pomegranate and Blueberries are far superior to red wine in terms of health benefits.

Anyone follow this beaut of marketing?


#6

correlational or gubernatorial...that's all the research I need!


#7

Well, lets look at the largest population that tends to abstain the most from alcohol: the extremely dogmatic, religious types. Right?

No offense, but would you generally characterize those kinds of people as being free-thinking or flexible in their thinking patterns? Note, I am NOT saying all religious people are stupid... but certainly there is a group who tend to be very rigid thinkers, and who would fall into this category. Also note that I do not drink, and I don't think it impairs my thinking.


#8

Let me get this straight -

14-28 drinks a week and there is a correlation between that and being smarter?

So If I were to take all 28 drinks in one night - not that I would EVER do something like that - does that count?


#9

Perhaps the link results from greater stress levels in many jobs for which intelligence is a prerequisite. The professions of business and law are both filled with plenty of drinkers by reputation. All the engineers I know are total alkis too.

Alcohol: If it makes me so smart, why does it make me act so dumb?


#10

Lol, 14-28 drinks per week? Give me a fucking break. Can anyone find the actual study? This article provides almost no information on it.


#11

It's the pendulum swing from dumb back to smart. Your brain realizes how dumb you got and overcompensates.
Combining information from this article and my college days, Einstein should look like a total dumbass next to me by now.
Furthermore, given the number of drinks in the study, I should still be getting smarter untill the year 2086...

To borrow from my good friends at Red Stripe:
Hooray Beer!


#12

Once again we have a ridiculous case of an assumed cause-and-effect based on a correlation. As others have pointed out, it is much more likely that "being smarter makes you drink". Another possibility is that drinking and being smarter are both caused, in part, by some other factor. In order to (partially) resolve this issue, a study must be done in which stupid non-drinkers are made to drink in moderation, intelligent moderate drinkers are made to stop, or intelligent moderate drinkers are made to watch large amounts of reality TV.

Many years ago I heard of a study that found a correlation between poverty and obesity (no big surprise there). The ridiculous conclusion they made was that obese people are poorer because of discrimination.


#13

"Beer is a sign that God truly loves us and wants us to be happy."

Can't remember who said that, but saw it in a Guiness ad once.


#14

Found it, correctly quoted.

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
Benjamin Franklin


#15

Right on.......!!!!


#16

Very true. Although that's most research.


#17

Gotta love correlations.

You can prove that ice cream sales lead to increased murder rates and that getting drunk can cause pregnancy with a correlation.


#18

Quote the article: