Heavy drinking can increase a person's risk of suffering from dementia, say UK doctors.
Doctors have associated alcohol intake with the development of the brain-wasting condition in between 10 and 24 percent of the estimated 700,000 people in the UK with the disease.
The experts believe that binge drinking and increased consumption are likely to produce an epidemic of alcohol-related brain damage in the future, which could see drinkers starting to experience serious memory problems in their 40s.
Women who drink at lot of alcohol are at a greater risk than men of suffering problems with their cognitive functions, as they are physiologically less well able to cope with alcohol's effects, reports The Guardian.
The rise in the amounts that people drink means "it is therefore likely that prevalence rates of alcohol-related brain damage are currently underestimated and may rise in future generations", say the authors.
Dr Jane Marshall, one of the co-authors and consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital in south London, said: "People think that dementia is something that happens to people over 65. But a lot of those under 65 have got cognitive problems and a large proportion of the problems in that group are related to alcohol.
"Alcohol-related brain damage may account for 10-24 percent of all cases of all forms of dementia. We know that alcohol is associated with serious cognitive impairment. It reduces memory and general cognition."
"Drink is more likely to help induce dementia in women than men because women have more body water and less body fat, which means that they metabolise alcohol differently and so are more vulnerable," said Marshall.