A couple of glasses of wine a day not only clears the mind but cleans it too, new research suggests.
Mice exposed to the equivalent of around two-and-a-half glasses a day are more efficient at removing waste products from the brain that are associated with dementia, a study found today.
The animals, who were given a compound of alcohol known as ethanol, also perform as well as ‘teetotal’ rodents on cognitive and motor tests, the research adds.
Lead author Dr. Maiken Nedergaard from the University of Rochester, said: ‘Prolonged intake of excessive amounts of ethanol is known to have adverse effects on the central nervous system.
‘However, in this study, we have shown for the first time that low doses of alcohol are potentially beneficial to the brain, namely, it improves the brain’s ability to remove waste.’
The researchers did not mention whether a red or white wine is most effective at ‘cleaning’ the brain but add other types of alcohol, including beer, would likely have the same impact.
‘Low doses of alcohol are beneficial to brain’
Results further reveal that intermediate alcohol exposure reduces mice’s ability to clear waste from the brain, however, this is restored after 24 hours.
This level of exposure is equivalent to around 12-ounce beers containing five percent alcohol or 5-ounce wine with 12 percent alcohol for a person weighing 70kg.
Very high alcohol doses, around 21 standard drinks a day, also inhibits waste removal.
Dr. Nedergaard said: ‘Prolonged intake of excessive amounts of ethanol is known to have adverse effects on the central nervous system.
‘Unexpectedly, however, the low dose of alcohol (0.5 g/kg) significantly improved glymphatic activity, acutely and after 30 days of chronic exposure.
‘In this study, we have shown for the first time that low doses of alcohol are potentially beneficial to the brain, namely, it improves the brain’s ability to remove waste.’
How the research was carried out
The researchers analyzed ethanol exposure in mice who were given low, intermediate or high doses at 0.5, 1.5 and 4g/kg, respectively, for up to 30 days.
In 2012, the same scientists discovered cerebral spinal fluid is pumped into brain tissue and flushes away waste, including the protein plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
This process is defined as someone’s ‘glymphatic function’.
The findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
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