BOOKS IMPROVE BRAIN FUNCTION:  Reading can do more than provide a mental escape – it can actually make your brain work better.  Researchers from Emory University had subjects read POMPEII, a novel by Robert Harris, and then examined their brains using an MRI scan.  They found that the left central cortex of the readers’ brains, the area receptive to language, showed higher functioning that lasted for several days.

ALCOHOL ENHANCES IMMUNE SYSTEM:  Is a vaccination for shingles, flu, pheumonia, or any other illness in your future?  If so, you might want to enjoy a couple of alcoholic drinks after the jab.  Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University found that moderate drinking makes vaccines more effective.  Researchers vaccinated monkeys, which have immune systems very similar to humans, against smallpox and then divided them into groups.  Some drank alcohol and some didn’t.  It was found that moderate drinking led to an enhanced immune response, leading to higher vaccine effectiveness.

CATARACTS;  LOWER YOUR RISK:  A diet high in antioxidants lowers the risk of cataracts as you age, according to research that focused on the total amount of antioxidants in the diet rather than focusing on a single nutrient, such as vitamin C or vitamin E. According to a Swedish study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, researchers followed 30,000 middle-aged women for more than seven years and found that antioxidant-laden foods and drinks, such as tea, blueberries, and red wine, helped women avoid cataracts as they aged.