Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Research suggests alcohol consumption helps stave off dementia

02.03.2011
Experts agree that long-term alcohol abuse is detrimental to memory function and can cause neuro-degenerative disease.

However, according to a study published in Age and Ageing by Oxford University Press today, there is evidence that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption may decrease the risk of cognitive decline or dementia.

Estimates from various studies have suggested the prevalence of alcohol-related dementia to be about 10% of all cases of dementia. Now researchers have found after analyzing 23 longitudinal studies of subjects aged 65 years and older that the impact of small amounts of alcohol was associated with lower incidence rates of overall dementia and Alzheimer dementia, but not of vascular dementia and cognitive decline.

It is still an open question whether different alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, and spirits, all have a similar effect. Some studies have shown a positive effect of wine only, which may be due either to the level of ethanol, the complex mixture that comprises wine, or to the healthier life-style ascribed to wine drinkers.

A total of 3,327 patients were interviewed in their homes by trained investigators (physicians, psychologists, gerontologists) and reassessed one and a half years and three years later. Information on the cognitive status of those who had died in the interim was collected from family members, caregivers or primary care physicians.

Among the 3,327 patients interviewed at baseline, 84.8% (n=2,820) could be personally interviewed one and a half years later and 73.9% (n=2,460) three years later. For the vast majority of subjects who could not be personally interviewed, systematic assessments (follow-up 1: 482; follow-up 2: 336) focusing particularly on dementia could be obtained from GPs, relatives or caregivers. Within three years, follow-up assessments were unavailable for only 49 subjects (1.5%). Proxy information could be obtained for 98.0% (n=295) of the 301 patients who had died in the interim. Since dementia is associated with a higher mortality rate, proxy information is particularly important in order to avoid underestimation of incident dementia cases.

At baseline there were 3,202 persons without dementia. Alcohol consumption information was available for 3,180 subjects:

50.0% were abstinent

24.8% consumed less than one drink (10 grams of alcohol) per day

12.8% consumed 10-19 grams of alcohol per day

12.4% consumed 20 or more grams per day

A small subgroup of 25 participants fulfilled the criteria of harmful drinking (>60 grams of alcohol per day for men, respectively >40 grams for women)

One man (>120 grams of alcohol per day) and one woman (>80 grams of alcohol per day) reported an extremely high consumption of alcohol

Among the consumers of alcohol almost half (48.6%) drank wine only

29.0% drank beer only

22.4% drank mixed alcohol beverages (wine, beer, or spirits)

Alcohol consumption was significantly associated with male gender, younger age, higher level of education, not living alone, and not being depressed.

The calculation of incident cases of dementia is based on 3,202 subjects who had no dementia at baseline. Within the follow-up period of three years:

217 cases of dementia (6.8%) were diagnosed, whereby 111 subjects (3.5%) suffered from Alzheimer dementia. Due to the relatively small numbers, other subgroups of dementia (vascular dementia: n=42; other specific dementia, e.g. dementia in Parkinson's disease, Lewy body dementia, alcohol dementia: n=14; dementia with unknown aetiology: n=50) were not considered in the following analyses.

Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed that alcohol consumption was significantly associated with a lower incidence of overall dementia and Alzheimer dementia. In line with a large-scale study also based on GP attenders aged 75 years and older, the study found that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption was associated with relatively good physical and mental health. This three-year follow-up study included, at baseline, only those subjects 75 years of age and older, the mean age was 80.2 years, much higher than that in most other studies.

Acknowledgements

This study is part of the German Research Network on Dementia (KND) and the German Research Network on Degenerative Dementia (KNDD) and was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (grants KND: 01GI0102, 01GI0420, 01GI0422, 01GI0423, 01GI0429, 01GI0431, 01GI0433, 01GI0434; grants KNDD: O1GI0710, 01GI0711, 01GI0712, 01GI0713, 01GI0714, 01GI0715, 01GI0716). The funding bodies have had no influence on the paper or the decision to publish.

Related links:
Article: http://www.oxfordjournals.org/our_journals/ageing/afr007.pdf
Journal: Age and Ageing, http://ageing.oxfordjournals.org/
Note to reporters:
Any mention or reporting of data from this article should be attributed to the Journal of Age and Ageing

For any additional information, or to speak with any of the researchers associated with this article please contact:

Purdy
Director of Publicity
Oxford University Press, Inc (OUP USA)
212.726.6032, or christian.purdy@oup.com

Christian Purdy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://ageing.oxfordjournals.org/
http://www.oxfordjournals.org/our_journals/ageing/afr007.pdf

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>