Heavy drinking ‘cuts dementia risk’

August 27th, 2009

WASHINGTON - People who drink up to 28 drinks a week in later life are less likely to develop dementia than people who abstain from alcohol consumption, according to a new study.

Professor Kaarin Anstey, from Canberra’s Australian National University, and colleagues compiled data from 15 international studies, including responses from more than 10,000 people.

They found that drinkers are better off when it comes to developing diseases affecting cognitive function, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The researchers found that those aged 60 and older who consumed between one and 28 alcoholic drinks each week, were almost 30 per cent less likely to have Alzheimer’s later on in life.

Light and moderate drinkers were also 25 per cent less likely to contract vascular dementia, and 26 per cent less likely to suffer from any form of dementia, the authors found.

The odds improved even more when comparing just drinkers with non-drinkers and ignoring exactly how much people consumed.

However, Anstey warned that this was not encouragement for people to start swilling 28 glasses of alcohol a week.

Even though, the study found imbibers, in general, had a 47 per cent reduced risk of contracting dementia compared with teetotalers, down to 44 per cent for Alzheimer’s.

Anstey said that there was a clear link between drinking and a reduced risk of dementia.

The researchers also found that the relationship between drinking and dementia was the same for men and women.

Although it was unclear exactly why light drinking provoked such a benefit, Anstey suggested that it might have something to do with alcohol’s ‘protective effect’ on reducing inflammation and heart disease.

The report was published in the July edition of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. (ANI)

Filed under Dementia, News


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