First, researchers looked at brain scans from mice who had a great amount of red wine every day over the course of a few weeks.
The NHS recommends that men and women should not drink more than 14 units a week, around five glasses of wine. The study found that low levels of alcohol consumption can reduce inflammation and help flush the brain of toxins, including beta amyloid and tau proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Nedergaard and her team were responsible for first uncovering the glymphatic system in a 2012 paper, revealing how large volumes of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) are pumped through the brain each day to forcefully carry away waste.
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. They also noted impairment of the animal's cognitive abilities and motor skills. The low dose animals' performance in the cognitive and motor tests was identical to the controls.More news: Light humor trumps political causes during the Super Bowl
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Research has also shown that the glymphatic system is more active while we sleep and also improves with exercise, suggesting that a sufficient amount of sleep and physical activity could be a possible way of reducing the risk of developing dementia. They saw less inflammation and noticed the glymphatic system was more efficient this time.
Dr Nedergaard added: "The data on the effects of alcohol on the glymphatic system seemingly matches the J-shaped model relating to the dose effects of alcohol on general health and mortality, whereby low doses of alcohol are beneficial, while excessive consumption is detrimental to overall health".
This process is defined as someone's "glymphatic function". In particular, low alcohol consumption has previously been linked to reduced cardiovascular disease and cancer risks, whereas high alcohol consumption has been linked to cancer risk, cognitive decline, and even hippocampal atrophy, a type of brain damage. "This study may help explain why this occurs", said senior author Maiken Nedergaard, MD, in a statement.
Alcohol may actually be tied to improved brain health, according to a new study in mice.