Behavior: Beer for the Aged

It is common knowledge that alcohol, in moderation, has therapeutic effects—as a releaser of emotional tensions, for instance, and as a mild sedative. Drink also serves society through the simple but significant camaraderie of the cup. In a recent experiment, Dr. Ching-piao Chien, a senior psychiatrist at Boston State Hospital, tested this function of alcohol on geriatric patients. Chien staged his study in the hospital sunroom, which had been converted for the experiment into a pub. His subjects were 40 male inmates (average age 73) suffering from depression or mental deterioration stemming from...

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