As the founder of Mindz Brainplay, I decided if anyone was going to be the guinea pig to assess the impact of a year without alcohol on the adult brain it should be me. I created the hashtag #alco_off_365 so that anyone can join me in my ‘suffering’ 🙂 or post a comment on their own experience.
Mind you, this decision wasn’t easy. Two glasses of red with dinner most nights was standard. On weekends this might extend to three or four.
It’s also true I have a family history of dementia with my father having Alzheimer’s for seven years before he died. We know that alcohol induced dementia is common, yet there’s far more dementia patients who’s moderate drinking was not a cause. Many dementia patients have never touched the sauce.
How then, can a full year without alcohol impact the mature adult brain that’s used to moderate daily lubrication? At 63 years old, my brain is a little past its prime, yet certainly nowhere near it’s use-by date. I hope.
How will I assess my year?
As a citizen scientist and educator with an interest in both research based and story-oriented learning, I decided to evaluate my 365-day alcohol-free brain-shift both quantitatively and qualitatively. In other words, I did some basic tests, and also recorded how I felt as the year went on. I also recorded weight and exercise patterns.
For quantitative results, I took three tests before and after my booze-free year. These test are free and all online. I wanted to take tests that were quick and easy for anyone. Not laboratory quality, but indicative. For the tests and my first results…
1. The Short Term Memory Test from ‘Memory Health Check’. I did the Memory Test Challenge with animal pictures to score 72% with a 951ms response time. With the nature pictures I scored 72% with a 958ms response time. Safe to say I scored an average 72%. Not great. Click HERE for the tests.
2. Food for the Brain Cognitive Function Test. I scored 50 which means I was above the norm for my age. A good thing. The test can be taken HERE.
3. Test my Brain Cognitive Speed test. I scored fairly poorly in this with:
⇒ 7.67 in the Fast Choice test (below average for age)
⇒ 6.75 in the Flickering Dot test (below average for age)
⇒ 30.42 in the Fast Reactions Test (above average for age)
The test can be found HERE.
For qualitative results, I noted my observations before stopping alcohol and then every month according to these criteria:
⇒ How did I physically feel on a scale of 1-10 + description?
⇒ How was my social life on a scale of 1-10 + description?
⇒ How did I feel on waking up on a scale of 1-10 + description?
⇒ Did I regard my memory and cognitive function as worse, same or better?
⇒ Did I regard my sleep as worse, same or better?
For my observations before stopping, click HERE.
Feel free to follow, join, comment or contribute to the Facebook page at Alco-off-365 or click HERE.