An ongoing study by Japans National Institute for Longevity into
the links between human intelligence and what we eat and drink
has found that the effects of alcohol on the middle aged and the
elderly was that the average IQ of men who drink wine (grapes
or rice) was 3.3 points higher than that of men who did not drink.
Similarly, the IQ of women drinkers was 2.5 points higher than
their teetotal sisters.
Subjects for the study shared the same income and educational
level - roughly £50,000 a year and all were university graduates.
The tests measured general knowledge (questions included naming
the capital of Peru (Lima) and Japans first post-war Prime Minister
(Naruhiko Higashikuni)). The powers of judgement and concentration
in drinkers and non-drinkers over 40 were measured; while wine
drinkers appeared to be brighter, the same was not true for drinkers
of shochu (a local gin) and whisky. Head of Epidemiology research,
Hiroshi Shirnokata said, "The benefits of wine and sake (rice
wine) in raising IQ could be due to substances they contain, polyphenols,
which are believed to slow the ageing process". Moderation was
shown to be important as those who drank more than 540 ml (a little
over a pint) of sake or wine a day had a lower intelligence quotients.
Japan has the best international age longevity records, at 76.7
for men and 83.2 years for women.