Study: Alcohol may help moderate drinkers ward off Dementia

(ABC News) —-A glass or two of wine a day – but no more — appears to protect older adults from developing dementia, researchers reported here at the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease.

“Among cognitively normal older adults, one to two alcoholic drinks a day is associated with a 37 percent decreased risk of dementia over 6 years,” said Dr. Kaycee Sink, a gerontologist at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

These “moderate drinkers,” who were at least 75 years old, had a lower risk of dementia than peers who abstained completely or those who had more than two drinks a day, Sink and her colleagues found.

However, she said she would not recommend that non-drinkers begin to use alcohol to try to prevent dementia.

Dr. Sink also said that her research found that patients who had been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment did worse with any level of alcohol intake.

“Physicians need to be clear with their patients exactly what is meant by ‘light,’ ‘moderate’ and ‘heavy’ drinking,” said Dr. Maria Carrillo, director of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer’s Association, which sponsored the Vienna meeting.

In Sink’s study, a light drinker consumed one drink or less of alcohol a day, while moderate consumption was one to two drinks. Heavy drinking involved more than two drinks a day.



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