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Can Drinking Champagne Really Save Your Memory?

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The results of a 2013 study on champagne and memory resurfaced this week, prompting bottle-popping celebrations across the Internet. Drinking champagne, it was claimed, is good for your brain and can reduce dementia risk, giving us all a scientific reason to break out the bubbly.

Unfortunately, it’s just not true. The 2013 study was focused on champagne and memory, but the results were nowhere near clear-cut.

Much of the hype stems from a press release sent out by the University of Reading at the time of the paper’s publication in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling. The release states that “drinking one to three glasses of champagne a week may counteract the memory loss associated with ageing, and could help delay the onset of degenerative brain disorders, such as dementia.”

Nope, nope, and nope. First of all, there’s a big gaping omission in this story: the species of the research subjects. The scientists tested the effects of champagne on rats, not people. We have no idea if these effects might translate to human brains.

Secondly, there was no proof that champagne helped more than any other alcoholic beverage. The 24 rats in the study were divided into three groups. Eight got champagne, eight got another alcoholic drink, the final eight were given a non-alcoholic fizzy drink. All three groups were then led through a series of tasks to test their spatial memory. It’s true that the champagne-swilling rodents did better than those who stayed sober, but they didn’t fare any better than the non-champagne-booze group. In other words, there’s no proof that champagne has super memory-boosting powers.

Finally, the ability of champagne to stave off dementia was never even tested.

So what did the study prove? Not much. It showed that the spatial memory of older rats can improve with moderate alcohol consumption—but even these results have yet to be replicated.

Like any other science, the research surrounding the effects of alcoholic beverages is constantly evolving and full of contradictions. Some studies say drinking in moderation is beneficial; others say it’s dangerous.

The bottom line: There’s no evidence whatsoever that upping your Cristal consumption will save your brain. But let’s be serious. Since when did you need an excuse to drink champagne?

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A Restaurant In Australia Is Garnishing Its Margaritas With Frozen Eyeballs
Jesse Hunniford/MONA
Jesse Hunniford/MONA

A cocktail special at a new restaurant in Australia has fallen under the global gaze thanks to its floating gaze. As Nerdist reports, Faro Tapas, a new Spanish eatery at Tasmania's Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), offers a black margarita garnished with a frozen bull eyeball.

The frosty drink contains tequila, mezcal, lime, and charcoal (presumably for color). It's served in a glass with a black salted rim and the aforementioned toothpick-skewered peeper.

Gourmet Traveller recommends that those brave enough to sample Faro Tapas's bovine booze drink it quickly, as the eyeball's ice casing melts. (If you're willing to risk brain freeze to avoid eye mush, this sounds like a smart move.)

That said, adventurous drinkers with stomachs of steel might find Faro Tapas's eyeball-garnished margarita tame compared to the Yukon Territory's Sourtoe cocktail (it contains a dehydrated human toe) and countless other weird and wacky cocktails served up around the world. Bottoms (and eyeballs) up!

[h/t Nerdist]

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Health
Drink Up: New Study Concludes Wine Can Offset Dementia
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iStock

The health benefits of wine can sometimes be overstated by people who are a few glasses deep and slurring their words. Should you ever find yourself in a position to defend your moderate imbibing, you have supporting evidence: A new study says two glasses of wine daily can potentially reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer's.

The study, which appears in Scientific Reports, shows that wine has an effect on one's glymphatic function, or the way the brain removes toxins. To clear itself of damaging and accumulated proteins like tau and beta amyloid, which are often linked with dementia, the brain pumps in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) to act as a flushing solution. All sorts of variables can influence the glymphatic system's operation, including trauma, stroke, and excessive alcohol intake.

But when researchers dosed the mice in the study with moderate alcohol—amounting to 2.6 drinks daily—the glymphatic system was more efficient, removing more waste and exhibiting less inflammation than the teetotaling control mice.

As is usually the case when it comes to booze, you can have too much of a good thing. When mice got the equivalent of 7.9 drinks daily, their glymphatic system grew sluggish until the overindulging was terminated.

"Studies have shown that low-to-moderate alcohol intake is associated with a lesser risk of dementia, while heavy drinking for many years confers an increased risk of cognitive decline," lead study author Maiken Nedergaard, of the University of Rochester Medical Center, said in a press statement. "This study may help explain why this occurs. Specifically, low doses of alcohol appear to improve overall brain health."

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