Sure, serious drinking is a seriously bad idea. But while excessive alcohol consumption is a well-documented health hazard, a little bit of alcohol could be a good thing. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center report that low levels of alcohol consumption, generously defined as less than two and a half drinks a day, appears to help the brain flush away waste, including the proteins beta amyloid and tau that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. A University of Rochester news release reports that when the researchers studied the brains of mice exposed to high levels of alcohol over a long period of time, they found high levels of a molecular marker for inflammation, particularly in cells called astrocytes which are key regulators of the glymphatic system. They also found impairment of the animal’s cognitive abilities and motor skills. Animals that were exposed to low levels of alcohol consumption, on other hand, showed less inflammation in the brain and their glymphatic system was more efficient in removing waste, compared to control mice who were not exposed to alcohol. The low dose animals’ performance in the cognitive and motor tests was identical to the controls.