Sipping Chardonnay might be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to improving cognitive function at an older age, according to the results of a recent study published by the journal BMC Geriatrics.

The research, which focuses on assessment test results among older Japanese adults, found that moderate wine consumption is linked to higher cognitive scores in older adults.

The cross sectional study focused on 1,226 participants in the 75-77 and 85-87 age groups. Utilizing the Japanese language version of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA-J), gerontologists and psychologists scored participants on cognitive function. The screening tool is often utilized by medical professionals to diagnose patients with cognitive impairment, such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

The group of older adults was observed from 2016 to 2017, as part of an ongoing study that began in 2010 and checks back with participants every three years. In addition to preliminary demographic data, researchers collected surveys based on drinking frequency, intake amount, alcohol type and drinking opportunity.

Research administrators found that the MoCA-J score was slightly higher for participants who drank between one to six days during the week, when compared to individuals who reported that they didn’t drink at all or drank every day. Consuming alcoholic beverages every day, however, is linked in this study with lower MoCA-J scores than those who didn’t drink at all.

The research suggests that the positive effect grows primarily from the social situations that drinking creates, rather than the beverages themselves, the authors write.

Drinking may coincide with opportunities for social participation, which inherently strengthens cognitive function among older adults. Those who seek out such social gatherings — as well as social opportunities that also include alcoholic beverages — are expected to score higher on the cognitive assessment. However, the authors write that this relationship is quite complicated with several additional factors, so a definite link cannot be established.

A variety of other elements, such as pre-existing physical and mental health concerns, might also assist in keeping mental function top-performing. A glass of wine in the meantime, too, might be a good idea.

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