Cheers! A New Study Finds That Alcohol Can Boost Your Memory (in the Short Term)

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If you’ve ever needed an excuse to crack open a cold one or pour yourself a cocktail after a hard study session, science may be on your side. A recent study published in Nature Scientific Reports indicated that drinking alcohol just after learning new information may help you retain that information better than if you had remined sober. The exact reasoning that this occurs is yet to be discovered, but it does indicate that alcohol can have some beneficial effects when it is consumed responsibly and methodically.

A few drinks can help you remember what you just learned.

Anecdotally, many people tout that alcohol helps them remember or become better at certain tasks, but it turns out there is some truth to this. In fact, alcohol has been documented to have positive impacts on memory in previous studies, though the effects are limited to information learned prior to drinking. Information learned while under the influence of alcohol is much more likely to be forgotten. In the most recent study, participants were split into two groups and given the same sets of words and images. One group remained sober following this study session, and the other group was allowed to drink as much as they wanted—the average was six drinks per person. The group that had become intoxicated scored statistically better than the sober group when tested in the morning to recall information from the day before.

Too many drinks can have poor effects on long-term memory.

Before you get too excited about the potential positive benefits of alcohol and memory, it’s important to remember that the long-term cons can easily outweigh the short-term pros. In a different alcohol-related study conducted at University College London, it was shown that memory loss was accelerated by six years in men who drink 2.5 drinks per day.

Because there is so much conflicting information out there about what’s good for your health and what isn’t, it’s always best to discuss any health questions you have with your doctor. When you don’t have time to schedule a visit to your primary physician, MeMD is there for you with convenient online medical exams available around the clock.