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Here's What's Wrong With All Those Articles Claiming Champagne Improves Your Memory

Are you an elderly rat? Then this study might apply to you!

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Lots of people have been sharing articles on Facebook about how drinking champagne improves memory and prevents dementia.

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Most of these articles are reporting some variation of what this study's press release says — that drinking up to three glasses of champagne per week can counteract memory loss.

Here's the thing. These articles are based on a 2013 study that was conducted in the UK at the University of Reading.

Michael Filtz CC BY-NC / Via Flickr: filtzexpress

Researchers wanted to determine if certain compounds that occur naturally in grapes (hydroxycinnamates and phenolic acids) have significant health benefits.

So they used champagne, which is rich in both, to test memory-related cognitive functioning in aged rats.

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The researchers divided the rats into three different groups — one that was fed only champagne, one that was fed an isocaloric drink, and one that was fed an isocaloric drink with alcohol.

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The study lasted six weeks. The researchers found that the rats that drank the equivalent of 1.3 glasses of champagne per week performed better than the rats in the other two groups in a maze that is commonly used to test rodents' "spatial learning, working memory, and reference memory performance."

BuzzFeed Life reached out to James A. Hendrix, Ph.D., director of global science initiatives at the Alzheimer's Association to ask what this study may mean for people.

Hendrix said that although this study has raised an interesting possibility — that certain molecules found in champagne may contribute to brain health —  it's too early to say what the effect could be on humans.

"We need more research to really understand how to put this into context and what this could mean for human health," he said.

In fact, Hendrix said that one of the biggest challenges in Alzheimer's research is that rats and mice have not been reliably shown to predict human health — especially when it comes to Alzheimer's disease — or even the outcomes of clinical trials using human beings.

"I would love it if a glass of champagne a week prevented Alzheimer's, but as a scientist I don't think that's valid or something I can recommend people do," Hendrix said.