Swedish researchers have found in a new study that women who drank wine were at a reduced risk for developing dementia in later life.
Researchers from Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg in Sweden analysed 1,458 women who were included in the so-called Population Study of Women from 1968.
They were asked to report how often they drank wine, beer, and liquor by selecting from seven categories on a scale from 'never' to 'daily.'
Over the period of thirty-four years, 162 women were diagnosed with dementia. However, in women who reported that they drank wine, a considerably lower proportion suffered from dementia.
"The group that had the lowest proportion of dementia were those who had reported that the only alcohol they drank was wine," said Professor Lauren Lissner, lead researcher along with Professor Ingmar Skoog, both with the Sahgrenska Academy.
But the researchers are still reluctant to recommend whether a woman should begin to drink wine, continue to drink wine, or increase their consumption. These findings also cannot be generalized for men, who have a different pattern of drinking.
"We have to be very cautious when we interpret these results, since we can't see in this type of population study what is cause and what is effect," said Lissner.
"There may be other factors in women who drink wine that provide them with protection against dementia, factors that we can't measure.
"But the correlation found is a strong one and can't be explained by other factors that we can measure, such as education, BMI, and smoking.
"In future analyses we will be studying the effect on more specific types of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease," Lissner added.