December 29, 2008

Moderate alcohol may cut Alzheimer’s risk

Moderate drinkers often have lower risks of Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive loss, U.S. researchers said.

Lead author Michael Collins of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine said the researchers examined 44 studies, and in more than half of the studies, moderate drinkers of wine, beer and liquor had lower dementia risks than non-drinkers. In only a few studies were there increased risks, Collins said.

Alcohol is a two-edged sword, Collins said in a statement. The pathological damage and vast social havoc from addiction to and abuse of alcohol are well known, and of necessity should continue to receive primary attention by doctors, scientific researchers and health professionals, however, light-to-moderate responsible alcohol consumption appears to carry certain health benefits.

The study, published online ahead of print in the February issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, defined moderate alcohol consumption as one drink or less per day for women and one to two drinks or less per day for men.

The researchers note there are other things besides moderate drinking that can reduce the risk of dementia including: exercise, green tea, education and a Mediterranean diet high in fruits, vegetables, cereals, beans, nuts and seeds.