Of mice and men — and beer
Over a beer one day, tipsy researchers decided to study … beer. Now, before you install a keg in every nurses' station in every memory care unit, you should know that they didn't exactly determine it was a cure-all for cognitive decline. But they did conclude that the study itself was a darn good idea, and one they intend to repeat every Friday afternoon indefinitely. Just to confirm their results, you understand. For the good of science.
In fairness, nothing I just said is true, to the best of my knowledge, except for the studying beer part. According to McKnight's, researchers at Oregon State University administered large quantities of frothy brew to willing mice of varying ages. The young ones showed increased critical thinking skills. The old ones did not. End of study. The disappointing takeaway is that beer does not appear to be the magic bullet for Alzheimer's, but let's not let that fact obscure its capacity for refreshment and as a gateway for bad decision-making.
Truth be told, they didn't actually give the mice beer, per se. I just like the image of a roomful of rodents drinking from tiny, frosty beer steins. Instead, they gave them high doses of xanthohumol, a flavonoid found in beer. It apparently sped the metabolism, reduced fatty acids and improved cognitive flexibility. In the young. It did nothing for the old, other than making them feel marginalized and say cranky things about “kids today.”
So the obvious question is, should we drink more beer? That depends. If you're old, yes. You'll need to consume more in order to forget that it does you no good. If you're young, the answer is also yes. But let me warn you, according to the researchers, you'll have to ingest 2,000 liters a day to get to the same levels of xanthohumol administered in the study. For all but the most seasoned administrators and medical supply sales professionals, that could be a daunting challenge.
Personally, I think a more reasonable alternative would be to wait until those always innovative beer makers bring to market a new product — Xanthohumol Light. With some icy mountains and scantily clad mice on the label, I think it would fly off the shelves.
Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in Humor Writing in the 2014 Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program. He has amused, informed and sometimes befuddled long-term care readers worldwide since his debut with the former SNALF.com at the end of a previous century. He is a multimedia consultant for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.