Medical research has shown that drinking reduces dementia. It also reduces cognitive decline. This study looked at the amount of alcohol consumed. But it also looked at how often it is consumed. How do they effect thinking ability as we age?
Researchers studied older adults living in a suburban California community. They were part in the Rancho Bernardo Study. It’s a study over time of adults in a southern California community.
It began in 1972 with 6,629 residents. Today, about 1,800 are still followed. Researchers studied 1,624. Their mean age was 73.2 years. Each person completed three things. First, a group of psychological tests. Second, a questionnaire on drinking alcohol and lifestyle. Third, a health report.
Researchers grouped each person’s alcohol intake. It was never, former, moderate, heavy or excessive. The scientists also categorized persons by drinking frequency. They were non-drinkers, rare, infrequent, frequent or daily drinkers.
Researchers then assessed the link between drinking and dementia. They adjusted for age, sex, education, exercise, and smoking. Also for waist-hip ratio, high blood pressure, and self-assessed health.
The Results: Drinking Reduces Dementia
Both the quantity and frequency of drinking improved cognitive ability. And they did so in a positive linear pattern. That is, as the amount and frequency increased, so did thinking ability. Visual memory also increased with intake. But it declined with excessive drinking.
These findings support those of earlier research. That is, regular, moderate drinking is protective against cognitive decline and dementia. In short, moderate drinking of alcohol is good for the brain.
Cognitive Decline and Dementia
People with cognitive decline have problems with their thinking ability. It can include such things as forgetfulness, problems learning, and inability to reason. But also problems concentrating, and other reductions in functioning mentally.
Cognitive decline can lead to dementia. This is a major decline in mental ability. It’s severe enough to cause problems in daily life. People with dementia may have losses in short-term memory. They misplace things. Leave them in strange places. Or act in strange ways. They often have personality changes. They may have other problems.
Those with dementia also have a hard time planning and organizing. It may be hard to plan and prepare a meal. Completing simple tasks, such as dressing, becomes hard. They may get lost going to the store or even at home. Many things can cause dementia.
At its most severe levels, those with dementia may forget how to swallow or do other things needed for life.
Preventing cognitive decline and dementia could avoid much emotional pain. It would reduce financial burdens. And it could reduce other serious problems. Moderate drinking may be one way to avoid dementia
Drinking Reduces Dementia Risk
- Reas, E., et al. Moderate, regular alcohol consumption is associated with higher cognitive function. J Prev Alzhei Dis, 3(2), 105-113.
- You now know that moderate drinking reduces dementia risk. That’s much more than most people know!