Dementia is a condition characterised by cognitive decline and may involve impairment of memory, language skills, problem-solving skills, etc. The condition hampers a person's daily activities and for a mental impairment to be considered dementia, at least two brain functions must be affected. The condition cannot be cured, although there is some treatment to help improve the symptoms. A new study has attempted to establish a link between the consumption of high levels of alcohol and the development of dementia. The study has said that for those who already suffer from Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), having two drinks per day or 14 drinks per week can increase the risk of developing dementia.
The study titled, "Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Dementia and Cognitive Decline Among Older Adults With or Without Mild Cognitive Impairment" was published in the journal JAMA Network Open. The study was conducted by researchers at Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health. For the study, the researchers looked at 3,021 participants aged 72 years and older. All the participants were free of dementia at the start of the study and during the follow-up period of six years, there were 512 cases of dementia reported from among them. These included 348 cases of Alzheimer's. During the study, the participants reported their frequency of beer, wine, and liquor consumption in days per week and their usual number of 12-oz cans or bottles of beer, 6-oz glasses of wine, and shots of liquor consumed on each occasion.
The researchers found that, consuming alcohol within the recommended limits was not significantly associated with a lower risk of dementia regardless of whether or not they suffered with MCI at baseline. The research led by Manja Koch from T.H. Chan School of Public Health said, "The findings suggest that physicians caring for older adults need to carefully assess the full dimensions of drinking behaviour and cognition when providing guidance to patients about their alcohol consumption." However, the researchers were careful not to draw any definitive conclusions regarding this association. "At present, our findings cannot be directly translated into clinical recommendations, and these findings warrant additional studies to confirm these associations further," the authors suggested.
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