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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Drinking induces memories

Those who drink to drown their sorrows, thinking alcohol makes the brain and memory go fuzzy, are having a wrong notion.

A new study by scientists has revealed that while low levels of alcohol promote neutral memories and moderate amounts boost one's ability to remember, heavy drinking induces negative memories.

"Moderate levels of alcohol challenge the brain and it responds by improving memory. It is like the best way to build strength in a muscle is to challenge the muscle," The Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday, quoting lead researcher Professor Matthew During of University of Auckland as saying.

"Contrary to popular belief, we also found that excessive levels of alcohol enhanced memories of highly emotional stimuli. Our work suggests that heavy drinking actually reinforces negative memories," he said.

The scientists came to the conclusion after studying the effects on memory of moderate levels of alcohol consumption, equivalent to a glass or two of wine every day, and found they can enhance memory.

According to Prof During's fellow researcher, Maggie Kalev, low levels of alcohol "promoted neutral memories, such as remembering objects."

The findings have been published in the 'Journal of Neuroscience'.

So, drinking too much means you are more likely to remember the embarrassment of a boisterous binge -- from making an indecent proposal to dancing without your trousers on.

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