Alcohol and Dementia Risk: Moderation Really Is Key

iStock

People who abstain from alcohol and those who consume more than 14 alcoholic drinks per week in middle age are both more likely than moderate drinkers to develop dementia — but the underlying causes are different in both groups, according to research published in The BMJ.

To learn more about how moderate drinking reduces dementia risk, researchers at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) and University College London conducted an analysis of 9,087 people taking part in a long-term study of the impact of social, behavioral, and biological factors on health. Study participants, who were between 35 and 55 in 1985, were assessed at regular intervals until 2004 to determine their long-term alcohol use and dementia risk.

The researchers used hospital admission records to identify study participants with dementia, alcohol-related diseases, and other chronic conditions. They found that midlife abstinence and excessive drinking were both associated with an increased risk for dementia. In those who didn’t drink, the elevated risk was due to cardiometabolic conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

Sourced from: The BMJ