The findings of two new studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2012 (AAIC 2012) in Vancouver have highlighted patterns of alcohol consumption that may increase risk of cognitive problems.
The research cautions that moderate alcohol use by women and binge drinking by people who are not normally heavy drinkers in late life, as well as heavy consumption in early life are all linked to increased risk of cognitive decline.
Dr Marie Janson of Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity, said:
“In a country with major concerns over binge drinking, these new findings should be taken seriously by people of all ages. Many people will drink to relax and it’s important to keep an eye on the amount of alcohol we consume. The findings make clearer the relationship between alcohol use and cognitive decline, and we see stark warnings against heavy drinking for both cognitive and a great many other health reasons. We still lack truly long-term research findings from a diverse population in this area, but the best advice is to keep alcohol consumption light throughout life to reap some benefits and protect against the risks of over-indulging.
“Evidence that helps individuals control their risk of cognitive decline is important, and can also help inform public health decisions. We must support research that helps build a picture of all the lifestyle and environmental factors that conspire to cause dementia.”
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