You’re not dreaming.
Read that again:
“Drinking three glasses of champagne could help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”
At least that’s what researchers at the University of Reading, UK, have found.
It’s thought that the powerful brain-boosting effects come from phenolic compounds used to produce the alcoholic drink.
Similar results have been observed in red wine before, but critics surmised that this could be due to the flavonoids in wed wine. Champagne, however, lacks flavonoids, and so the memory improvements can be put down purely to the compounds themselves.
The study, which used rodents as test subjects, found that the group given the phenolic compounds from champagne had improved spatial memory. This comes about through modulation in hippocampal signaling and protein expression in the brain. (Which basically means the brain is better able to record information about the environment, and store it to be used at a later date.)
On the face of it, this is great news for champagne producers and most of the adult population across the world.
The researchers have plans to conduct more studies using humans to see if the results are replicable and whether we all need to be drinking champagne to enhance our lives, improve our memories and stave off degenerative conditions.
Don't Pop The Cork Just Yet
Before you run to the nearest liquor store, bear in mind that this is just one study.
The National Health Service in England warns against taking this as cold hard fact and suggests that immediately increasing your champagne consumption may not be the best idea.
For one thing, rodent studies often don’t translate to humans, and the study itself had several flaws.
The tasks the rats were given involved finding a treat in a maze.
The rats given the compounds from champagne found the snack roughly five times out of eight, while the rats given other drinks averaged four from eight.
This is hardly solid proof of a substantial or significant increase in cognitive performance.
The Jury Is Still Out
No study will ever be 100% perfect.
When looking at research, it’s important to take into account the body of evidence as a whole, as well as how the studies are conducted.
Rodent studies are all well and good, but humans are very different from rats and mice, and so the effects in one species don’t necessarily carry over to another.
Bias can also play a role in the outcome of a study, as those who’ve funded research can sometimes have an ulterior motive and a vested interest in a particular result.
Focusing on the big picture is critical.
Look at an example such as the relation between smoking and cancer:
We have enough evidence that we can say with virtually no doubt whatsoever that smoking increases a person’s risk of getting cancer. Thousands of studies have been conducted, looking at various populations, in controlled settings.
When it comes to champagne and dementia, however, it’s in its early days, and this is just one study.
Who knows, 20 years down the line, we may have hundreds more studies that support the notion of drinking champagne to prevent cognitive degeneration.
Until then, however, you might want to hold tight, and perhaps eat more blueberries and bananas (which are also high in flavonoids) instead.