Millions of people suffer from dementia. It’s a cruel disease for both the victims and their loved ones. Fortunately, there’s much scientific evidence that drinking alcohol lowers dementia risk. The following study found the decrease to be much lower.
Researchers studied 3,069 community-living adults. They were aged 75 years and older without dementia when enrolled. At the start of the study, 2,587 were cognitively normal. A total of 482 had mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Researchers examined participants every six months for up to six years for changes in their memory or thinking abilities.
The researchers adjustment for demographics, smoking, co-morbidities, depression, social activity, and baseline cognition. They found having one or two drinks daily was associated with a 37% lower risk of dementia. This was in those with normal cognition at the beginning of the study. However, they did not find a reduction among those who began the stud with mild cognitive impairment.
Head researcher was Dr. Kaycee Sink of Wake Forest University School of Medicine. “Our findings suggest mild to moderate alcohol intake may reduce the risk of dementia,” Dr. Sink said. “However, this does not appear to be true for those who already have mild cognitive impairment.” Thus, drinking before impairment begins appears to be wise.
Resources: Alcohol Lowers Dementia Risk
Alzheimer’s & Dementia for Dummies. Hoboken: Wiley, 2016.
Andrews, J. and Dench, J. When Someone You Know has Dementia. Practical Advice for Families. Vancouver: Greystone, 2016.
Cardwell, L. Dementia in the Family. Practical Advice. Bellingham, WA: Self-Counsel, 2017.
Markut, L. and Crane, A. Dementia Caregivers Share Their Stories. A Support Group in a Book. Nashville: Vanderbilt U Press, 2005.
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Funk-White, M. et al. Alcohol use and cognitive performance. Age Ment Health, 2021.
Shen, Y. et al. Association of Low to Moderate Alcohol Drinking With Cognitive Functions. JAMA Network Open. 2020, 3(6), 7922.
Zhang, Y. et al. Association between alcohol consumption in midlife and cognitive function in old age. Nut Meta Cardio Dis, 2021, 31(11), 3044-3053.
Sink, K., et al. Moderate Alcohol Intake Is Associated With Nearly 40% Lower Risk of Dementia. Paper at Alzheimer’s Assn Int Conf on Alzheimer’s Dis. Vienna, Aust: July, 2009.
This site is informational only. Thus, it gives no opinion on the finding that alcohol lowers dementia risk.