Get Drunk on Red Wine and Cure Alzheimer's!

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God, red wine is the cockiest motherfucker on earth, right? I feel like every two weeks red wine releases another statement about how great red wine is. Like red wine's just sitting around in a mahogany-paneled den drinking red wine and coming up with more things that red wine can cure. Heart disease? Have some red wine! High blood pressure? Red wine! Common cold? Red wine. Fatness? Wine. Oldness? Wine. Arthritis pains? Fuckin' wine. Family reunion-induced boredom? BRING ME THE WINE.


Anyway, here's the latest thing: Alzheimer's. Studies on mice have shown that resveratrol, a chemical found in red wine and chocolate, might help delay the mental deterioration of Alzheimer's patients. A new study out of Georgetown University hopes to test the effects of high doses of resveratrol on humans. And one of those humans could be you! Sounds fun, right?

"With this clinical trial, we'll find out if daily doses of pure resveratrol can delay or alter memory deterioration and daily functioning in people with mild to moderate dementia due to Alzheimer's."

The phase 2 study conducted at 26 academic institutions will test the effect of resveratrol on people with mild to moderate dementia. Half will receive the compound, and half will receive a placebo sugar pill.

The volunteers in the 12-month study will be asked to abstain from eating or drinking large quantities of food that contain resveratrol. They also must be willing to undergo MRI brain scans and procedures to collect spinal fluid.

Oh. Sorry, little winos. It's not really as fun as it sounds. First of all, you have to have dementia already. Not that fun. And second of all, volunteering for this red wine and chocolate study actually means you don't get to have any red wine and chocolate for an entire year, so you don't confound the effects of your red wine and chocolate science pills. Booooooooo! (Click here for more information on how to volunteer.)

Anyway, not to "science-shame"—I do think that all this research is totally interesting—but does anyone think that any of these bajillions of buzzy studies are actually going to change people's behavior? We all assume we're going to live forever, and people are terrible at planning ahead. It is known. If we weren't, then credit cards would be extinct and I would have more than $300 in my Roth IRA and we'd all just sit around eating flax paste when we weren't busy rowing crew. No matter what you tell people, for the most part, we just do whatever the fuck we want to do.

And anyway (I know this is kind of a side point, because the potential product we're talking about here is most likely resveratrol tablets and not a giant wheeled hamster bottle of pinot noir, ALTHOUGH THAT WOULD BE HILARIOUS)—can't we just preserve the aesthetic sanctity of things once in a while? Wine might have health benefits, but it also has deeply entrenched social and artistic value. People who love wine because it's wine are going to keep drinking exactly as much wine as they like, and people who don't like wine aren't going to start guzzling wine to stave off some vague specter of dementia lurking 50 years in the future. And if they do, they're wasting wine. Drinking wine solely for long-distance health benefits would be like burning books for fuel. Chew your resveratrol gummies if you must, but leave wine out of it.

This has been Wine Thoughts™, brought to you by wine.

Photo credit (C) photography33 / Stockfresh.



As someone who knows quite a few recovering alcoholics - people who can't drink in moderation and abstain entirely, I think this is a bit dangerous in that it starts a mental pattern of justification that can lead to relapse. The truth is most of the benefits of red wine can be enjoyed through supplements and antioxidant-heavy juices.

I remember my dad telling me about Dr's who used to encourage their patients to smoke cigarettes, which is laughable now. Alcohol is still a toxin, and very few people can drink the recommended daily allocation (just one glass for women) over a long arch of time without developing a habit of drinking more consistently or binge-drinking on weekends or whatever.

I just wish, for the sake of those in recovery, alcohol wasn't such a go-to cool thing to do or study or whatever... oh well... bring on the angry comments...