A recent study by researchers in the Institute of Preventive Medicine in Copenhagen suggests that drinking wine occasionally may be beneficial in countering dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Scientists, who found that people who drank wine weekly or monthly were more than two times less likely to develop dementia, said that the findings are important because there may be substances in wine which reduce the occurrence of dementia. This in turn means that potential treatment and prevention methods could be developed from these substances.
The study tracked the drinking pattern of 1700 people in Copenhagen in the 1970s and then assessed them in the 1990s when they were 65 years or more. Over the two decades about 80 of the subjects had developed dementia. However, researchers add that drinking wine everyday did not have any protective effect. It was also found that people who drank beer had an increased risk of developing dementia. The researchers believe that the compound flavanoid, found in wine, especially red wine, could be the key factor that produces the beneficial effect. These compounds help to minimise the damage caused to the body's tissues by charged particles called free radicals which are released when oxygen is converted into energy in the body's cells. Earlier studies have indicated that flavanoids also reduced occurrence of stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases among wine drinkers.
Dr. John Brust, a neurologist from New York suggests however, that the study is limited because it did not take into account eating and dietary habits of wine drinkers, which, he says, is better than that of beer or other liquor drinkers.