Could Midlife Alcohol Drinking Lead To Dementia ?

by Medindia Content Team on  September 10, 2004 at 10:30 AM General Health News
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Could Midlife Alcohol Drinking Lead To Dementia ?
Some studies suggest heavy drinking increases the risk of dementia , some find light to moderate drinking may protect against the condition, and others still find no association at all.

In a study carried out among around 1,000 men and women between the ages of 65 and 79 who were followed over 23 years, researchers reported frequent drinking in middle age (defined as several times a month) and those who said they abstained from alcohol altogether were both about twice as likely as those who said they drank infrequently (defined as less than once a month) to develop mild mental impairment as they got older. However, only people with a gene known to increase the risk of dementia -- the apolipoprotein e4 allele -- appeared more likely to actually develop serious mental problems with increased drinking.

Researchers say since this is the first population-based study that prospectively evaluated the effects of midlife alcohol drinking on the development of mild cognitive impairment and dementia in old age, taking into account genetic susceptibility they could not come to any conclusion regarding the same, however they say that more such studies have to be done in order to come to a consensus on the matter.

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