New research has found that consuming a light to moderate amount of alcohol each day may help prevent the onset of various forms of dementia including Alzheimer’s disease. This is according to the study published in the January 26, 2002 edition of The Lancet.
Scientists from the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, conducted the study based on the clinical reputation of alcohol, which consumed in light to moderate amounts, can be a preventative measure against vascular (blood vessel) and heart disease. According to the researchers, vascular disease is a significant contributor to all forms of impaired cognition and dementia. Based on this relationship, the researchers theorized that drinking alcohol once a day may affect the onset of dementia symptoms.
In a prospective population based study that began in 1993, the researchers examined 7,983 patients aged 55 years or older who did not have symptoms of dementia. The scientists extensively questioned participants on their general drinking habits, the types of alcohol they liked to drink, and how often they would have a drink. They then performed follow up examinations over a period of six years.
After the 6 year follow up, and adjusting for other risk factors for dementia such as smoking, education, age, and blood pressure, the researchers found that 197 individuals developed a form of dementia, the majority of which had Alzheimer’s disease (146). The results showed that individuals who had one to three drinks a day were approximately 40% less likely to develop a cognitive disease.
“We found that, in this population of individuals aged 55 years or older, those who consumed up to three glasses of alcohol per day had a lower risk of dementia and vascular dementia than those who never drank alcohol,” stated epidemiologist Dr. Monique Breteler.
The researchers also reported that the reduced risk for dementia is not dependent upon the type or source of alcohol consumed.