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Want To Improve Your Memory? Drink Booze, Study Says


By Cooking Panda

Studying for an exam? Getting ready for a big presentation at work? Capping off your preparation with a drink or two could help you perform better, reports a study by the U.K.’s University of Exeter.

That’s right, researchers found that people who drank after a learning exercise remembered more of what they learned than those who didn’t drink. Maybe a couple of glasses of wine after a long day of learning isn’t such a guilty pleasure, after all.

The study, “Improved memory for information learnt before alcohol use in social drinkers tested in a naturalistic setting,” was published in the Nature research journal Scientific Reports.

Eighty-eight social drinkers were given a “word-learning task” before they were split into two groups: one of which drank an average of four alcoholic beverages and the other of which sipped strictly upon non-alcoholic libations.

Not only did the drinkers perform better on the same task the next day, but those who drank the most performed the best. 

This may make you scratch your head, as you typically associate alcohol with memory loss — or at least fogginess — rather than maintenance. Researchers believe that since your brain doesn’t store as many things you learn while you’re drinking, it has more of a chance to store the information you learn right before you knock back a margarita. 

“The causes of this effect are not fully understood, but the leading explanation is that alcohol blocks the learning of new information and therefore the brain has more resources available to lay down other recently learned information into long-term memory,” said University of Exeter professor Celia Morgan.

“The theory is that the hippocampus — the brain area really important in memory — switches to ‘consolidating’ memories, transferring from short into longer-term memory.”

The same results have been found in previous studies, but this is the first time people drank (or didn’t drink) in their own homes, rather than in a laboratory setting, according to the university. 

Struggling to remember everything you talked about in a boring meeting today? Here are some summer cocktails that just might call everything back to mind.

Source: University of Exeter / Photo credit: Pixabay

Tags: alcohol, drinking, memory, research, Study, university
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It’s True: Alcohol Actually Makes Pain Go Away


By Cooking Panda

That includes emotional pain, the relief of which, for many of us, is worth even more. Now, it’s just up to you to decide if it’s worth the hangover.

Munchies reports that recent research from the Journal of Pain suggests that alcohol could be as effective managing your pain as actual medication! The study compared the blood alcohol content of 18 participants as it compares to their pain levels. Those with a 0.08 BAC had a much higher pain threshold than those who had a lower BAC.

The general consensus is that 0.08 BAC is equal to about three to four drinks, which means having three to four drinks is likely to increase your pain tolerance dramatically.

These findings don’t, however, mean that we should be remedying all sorts of pain with alcohol, since the amount needed to dull the effects of pain is enough to cause harm to the rest of our bodies.

It’s OK (at least, I think it’s OK) to savor the effects from time to time. It never hurts to pay attention to what your body is telling you. Sometimes it’s telling you it wants another glass of wine. Just proceed with caution, keeping in mind that another glass might not be the best thing for the rest of your organs. You know that thing they say, enjoy responsibly.

Also, researchers say, “Strongest analgesia occurs for alcohol levels exceeding World Health Organization guidelines for low-risk drinking and suggests raising awareness of alternative, less harmful pain interventions to vulnerable patients may be beneficial.” This further explains, they concluded, why alcohol misuse is seen in higher quantities among those in “persistent pain.”

Take this knowledge and do what you will with it. Maybe it just makes you feel better to know for certain what you already knew from experience. Going through a breakup? Grab that pint of Ben & Jerry’s that you were going for anyway, and grab a bottle of wine while you’re at it. Don’t forget the chick flick, or revenge film. Whatever’s your style.

Source: Munchies / Photo Credit: Pexels/Pixabay

Tags: alcohol, alcoholic beverages, Booze, Painkillers
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Bombay Sapphire Gin Recalled For Too Much Alcohol


By Cooking Panda

Be careful if you’ve been drinking Bombay Sapphire Gin! It’s apparently being recalled in provinces throughout Canada due to having twice the amount of alcohol it’s supposed to have!

I guess you could see that as either a good or bad thing, but it’s definitely something you should know up front. Time reports that the Liquor Control Board of Ontario was the first to act when it discovered that some bottles of Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin contained an alcohol content of 77 percent. Yikes! The bottle only lists that the gin holds 40 percent alcohol, so if you have a bottle of this stuff lying around your place, keep this important news in mind.

CBC News reports that at most, 1,000 cases worth of 1.14-liter Bombay Sapphire bottles were impacted by this mistake. Those bottles were bound for the Canadian market, and were reportedly only sold in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Alberta, Quebec and Saskatchewan. I’m not sure if only was the correct word to use there (that’s a lot of places), unless you were trying to get your hands on a bottle.

This has apparently been the second time in recent weeks that something like this has happened. Georgian Bay Vodka had a similar recall in March because several hundred bottles had not been properly diluted. That’s scary stuff!

If you’re worried you may have one of the affected Bombay Sapphire bottles, look for a product code on the bottom of your 1.14-liter bottle that reads: L16304. All of the affected bottles have been pulled from shelves, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t have already bought one.

Bacardi does not recommend that you consume the product if you find that you have one of the affected bottles. They are urging you to return it to the place of purchase and get a new bottle instead. It’s just dangerous, otherwise!

The recall was expanded from only eight provinces, to being carried out countrywide, so you know they’re taking it pretty seriously. Luckily, there hasn’t yet been any illness reported from consumption of these products.

Sources: Time, CBC News / Photo Credit: Mattes/Wikimedia Commons

Tags: alcohol, Bacardi, Bombay Sapphire Gin, recall
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Congrats, Oenophiles! No-Drip Wine Bottles Exist (Video)


By Cooking Panda

Ugh. I don’t care what anybody says — “wine pressure” exists, and it really, really sucks.

When I first started drinking wine (by which I mean, when I started looking forward to trying out different varieties, and stopped quietly judging my more seasoned friends for doing that whole swirl and sniff spectacle before taking their first sip), I would always half look forward to and half dread things like dinner parties or birthday gatherings for people I didn’t know very well.

Basically, I knew that a bottle of wine would probably be an appropriate gift, and I didn’t want to accidentally bring a wine that, unbeknownst to me, was widely regarded as disgusting, or extremely cheap, or even dangerous for some reason.

Then, once I got over that and accepted that it’s the “thought that counts,” I had to learn how to properly open bottles with a corkscrew.

And then, once I got the cork out — there was always that stupid wine drip to contend with.

If you drink wine, you know what I’m talking about. A drip of wine seems to always dribble out of the bottle before it makes it into the glass, and it is infuriating.

That’s why this new invention is like a gift from Dionysus himself.

A Brandeis University biophysicist and a wine-lover extraordinaire named Daniel Perlman has invented a drip-free wine bottle after studying the flow of liquid across the wine bottle’s lip for three entire years (video below).

Essentially, all of that research resulted in Perlman deciding to add a simple indentation directly below the lip, but that’s good enough for me to elevate Perlman’s status in my mind to certified hero to oenophiles everywhere. After all, it seems like nobody ever thought of the simple trick before.

Hopefully, the innovation will begin appearing in wine bottles available more readily to us all, so we can begin reaping the benefits of Perlman’s hard work, and finally put an end to wine pressure (or at least begin to).

Sources: Brandeis University, Brandeis University/YouTube / Photo Credit: Brandeis University/YouTube

Tags: alcohol, brandeis university, wine bottle, wine drip, wino inventions
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This Wearable Band Will Tell You How Drunk You Are


By Cooking Panda

A new gadget called Proof, by Milo Sensors, has the power to revolutionize the way we monitor whether or not we’ve had too many drinks at happy hour.

The wearable wristband monitors your blood alcohol content while you drink, making it possible for you to determine whether you’re ready to drive at the end of the night. According to Mashable, the wristband reads alcohol molecules through your skin.

Proof features a soft wristband and a disposable cartridge that is capable of tracking your alcohol activity for over 12 hours. The accompanying app works kind of like the fitness tracking apps, allowing you to check in on your current status. The difference, of course, is that you’re tracking a very specific kind of activity.

Milo Sensors has even taken things one step further, and created an additional feature where your friends and family can monitor your (and each other’s) level of drunkenness. This could be a good or a bad thing … On the one hand, it could be something parents get for their college student so they can keep a very close eye on the unlucky kid, or it could lead to increased shenanigans. For example, kids could get carried away in competition of who gets the drunkest. Perhaps an age limit on this device would be prudent?

Daily Mail reports that there’s also a very useful feature that enables you to set your limit ahead of time and the app will alert you when you’ve reached it. Likewise, it can predict how drunk you’ll be later on, or tell you what time you’ll be sober and ready to drive.

Proof was developed under rigorous testing by NIH, who spent $100,000 determining just how effective it was. As it turns out, NIH reports that it’s about as accurate as consumer-bought breathalyzer tests. Like I said, this could revolutionize the way we monitor our drinking. It’s scheduled to come out later in 2017, and is expected to cost about $100 to $150. No more excuses for your DUI’s!  … Not that there were any to begin with.

Sources: Mashable, Daily Mail / Photo Credit: Mashable, Grey Goose/Instagram

Tags: alcohol, drinking, happy hour, Milo Sensors, Proof, Wearable
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Is White Wine Linked To Skin Cancer?


By Cooking Panda

Gird yourself, folks: if you were planning, like I certainly was, to indulge in a glass (or five) of wine over the holiday season, you might want to read this first.

A large new study that was published in an American Association for Cancer Research journal has just come out with the disheartening news that, because alcohol actually creates a carcinogenic byproduct when it is metabolized, it could actually increase your risk of certain types of cancers.

The study reports that drinkers have a 14 percent higher chance of contracting melanoma than nondrinkers, and if you drink 20 or more grams (0.7 ounces or more) of alcohol per day, you have a 73 percent higher risk of skin cancers in areas that generally do not amass a great amount of sun exposure.

I know, I know: we’ve all heard the news before that red wine is actually supposed to be good for us, if consumed in moderation. Perhaps that explains why the study found that actually white wine contains higher levels of the carcinogenic byproduct found in alcohol, compared to its rosy twin.

“A total of 1,374 cases of invasive melanoma were documented during 3,855,706 person-years of follow-up,” the case results read, saying that alcohol intake ultimately is “associated with a modest increase in the risk of melanoma, particularly in UV-protected sites.”

Also, while they don’t know exactly why, researchers found that white wine drinkers were at a 13 percent higher risk of melanoma compared to beer drinkers, or other liquor drinkers as well.

Look: nobody is saying if you have a single sip of alcohol — particularly white wine — that you’re going to necessarily be in trouble. We all know that simply isn’t true!

However, do keep in mind that if you are at high risk for melanoma (if you have fair skin, a family history of skin cancer or have had melanoma before), perhaps you should keep all of these factors in mind before you choose what beverage to have.

Sources: AACR / Photo Credit: Dobromira/Instagram

Tags: alcohol, carcinogenic byproduct, melanoma, white wine, wine
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