A hot toddy may prove to be more medicinal than previously thought, according to new research.
The study from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine suggests that moderate alcohol intake offers long-term cognitive protection and reduces the risk of dementia in older people.
It involved more than 3,000 people aged 75 or over, most without any memory or thinking problems.
The participants were asked about their drinking habits and examined twice a year for six years to monitor their memory and cognitive abilities.
People who had no cognitive impairment at the start and drank eight to 14 alcoholic beverages a week showed on average a 37 per cent reduction in risk of developing dementia, compared to those who abstained completely.
"As of yet, we still have no cure for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, so it is important to look for things that might help people prevent the disease," said Kaycee Sink, a geriatrician and senior author of the paper.
Caffeine has also been shown to have benefits for memory in older age.
In research on mice it was found that caffeine could be used as both a treatment and protection for Alzheimer's.
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