Science and Health

Heavy Drinking Declines Memory In Men: Study

The study found heavy alcohol consumption affects men's cognitive functions similar to premature aging.

Heavy Drinking Declines Memory In Men: Study
Flickr / jesus-leon

This week, you’ve heard a little caffeine can boost your memory — and now, a new study suggests heavy alcohol use might result in a decline in memory, at least in men.

London researchers studied more than 5,000 men and 2,000 women in the U.K. and found a significant decline in memory and mental functions in men who drank more than 36 grams of alcohol a day — about two and a half drinks. (Via USA Today, ABC)

Every few years since 1997, the study participants took memory and reasoning tests, such as writing down as many words beginning with the letter “s” as they could in a minute or solving mathematical word problems. (Via NBC, News 12)

The study confirms past research indicating a little alcohol is probably not going to affect you, but heavy consumption is likely harming cognitive power — similar to premature aging. (Via Neurology)


According to the study’s lead author, the men who drank more than two-and-a-half drinks per day experienced accelerated memory decline of up to 6 years. (Via WJBK)

It’s important to note that alcohol consumption was self-reported in the study, meaning some people might have underestimated how much they actually drink. Also, the study defined alcoholic beverages as "measures of spirits, glasses of wine and pints of beer" — which are arbitrary.

In the U.S. the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines one drink as a regular can of beer, 5 ounces of wine or a shot of hard liquor.

And although the study included women, the researchers found no clear results for them and suggest further studies are needed to determine whether these findings are true regardless of gender. (Via Neurology)