Tyrion Lannister once said: “I drink and I know things.” Turns out the Game of Thrones character was right. A new study from the University of Georgia has found that alcohol consumption might have a link to cognitive function.
The study found that alcohol consumption changes cognitive function over time.
The lead author told Science Daily Ruiyuan Zhang, a doctoral student at UGA’s College of Public Health said: "We know there are some older people who believe that drinking a little wine everyday could maintain a good cognitive condition.
"We wanted to know if drinking a small amount of alcohol actually correlates with a good cognitive function, or is it just a kind of survivor bias."
While previous studies have showed its benefits on heart health, his perhaps the first study designed to isolate the effects on cognition over time.
The study involved 19,887 participants over two years. Light to moderate drinking means fewer than eight drinks per week for women and 15 drinks for men.
One standard drink is 341 ml of light beer (roughly a pint), 43 ml of hard liquor (whisky, rum, vodka, gin) (one-and-half-small peg) or 142 ml 12% wine.
The participants underwent tests for cognitive function which looked at their overall mental status, word recall and vocabulary. Compared to teetotallers, those who had a drink or two a day tended to perform better on cognitive tests.
The study was done while controlling other factors that affect cognition like education, age and smoking.
However, the author warned that there was no evidence that the effect was causal and said the study didn’t encourage people to drink.