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Posted: Saturday, 04 August 2018 12:41

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Study: Abstainers and excessive drinkers more risk prone to dementia

Aug 04: A study published in the British Medical Journal of Thursday, found that moderate drinkers were at lowest risk of dementia, compared to heavy drinkers and non-drinkers, but this may be because they tend to lead generally healthy lives and are less likely to smoke or eat unhealthily

The British Medical Journal study found that a group of people who did not drink alcohol in middle age were more likely to develop dementia later on than people who drank moderately.

However, according to a Report in BBC there are a few reasons this study should be treated with caution. Firstly, it only says that more of the people observed who didn't drink in midlife went on to develop dementia. It does not say that abstaining from drinking itself is causing dementia.  People in this group may have drunk heavily in the past or had to give up drinking for health reasons.

The study only looked at whether people drank during a particular snapshot in time, so some of that group might already be in poor health. There have been a number of studies in this area with conflicting results and this one doesn't provide enough evidence to suggest that anyone should go ahead and change their drinking habits.

Of the over 9,000 participants, who took part in a British study between 1985 and 1993 and were followed for 23 years on average, there were 397 cases of dementia recorded. The study found long-term abstainers were at the most extra risk of dementia (67 per cent), compared to those who were abstinent in midlife (45 per cent) and those cutting down (50 per cent).

“The most intriguing finding from this study was the significantly increased risk of dementia among abstainers, and that association was only present in those who abstained from wine,” said Dr Sevil Yasar from John Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, who was not involved in the study, according to a Report in The Independent.

“Wine, in addition to alcohol, contains polyphenolic compounds, which have been associated with neuro-protective effects on both neurodegenerative and vascular pathways, and with cardio-protective effects through inflammation reduction, inhibition of platelet aggregation, and alteration of lipid profile.” However Dr. Yasar advised caution about the findings.

“Future research will need to examine drinking habits across a whole lifetime, and this will help to shed more light on the relationship between alcohol and dementia,” says Dr Sara Imarisio, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Before you decide whether your own drinking habits put you at increased or decreased risk of dementia, there are a couple of things to remember. First, dementia was evaluated by medical records and death certificates; variations in how people categorized dementia could affect the results. According to Time the threshold of 14 glasses of wine (about 112g of alcohol) a week identified in the study is lower than what some countries recommend as healthy levels of alcohol. In the U.S., the standard alcoholic beverage contains about 14g of alcohol (almost twice that in the standard alcoholic drink in the U.K., for example), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends women drink up to a drink a day, and men consume no more than two drinks a day.

For some of the older studies on the subject reported in delWine, visit

Study: Women one more Reason for Men to drink Wine

Wine & Health: Health Benefits and Harms of Wine

MIND it! With Red Wine and Rajnikanth

Study: Daily Wine Dose helps jog Seniors Memory

A Wine and Health Study you need not read about  

Wine and Health: Need to Study Effects of Wine on Dementia

Corder Book Justifies Red Wine for Health, But.

It is our viewpoint that there is nothing conclusive in this Study or the others, each expressing caution. But they all seem to converge on our recommendation of drinking 2 glasses (125 mL) of wine (12.5-13%) for men and 1 glass for women daily-with perhaps alcohol free day or two during the week. And if you are a teetotaller for whatever reason you don’t need to start drinking wine purely for the health benefits. However, if you do decide to start or are already drinking, we do recommend wine because of the anti-oxidants and these are the limits we recommend. It is best to consult your doctor who should be an evolved person and not opiniated.

Subhash Arora

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