Moderate drinking cuts risk of Alzheimer's, study shows

Thu Aug 18, 2011 4:22pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Paula Rogo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Light to moderate social drinking, a glass or two of wine or beer a day, can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to American researchers.

After analyzing more than 140 studies dating back to 1977 and involving more than 365,000 people, scientists at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine found that moderate drinkers were 23 percent less likely to develop forms of dementia and cognitive impairment.

Moderate drinking is defined as a maximum of two drinks per day for men and one drink for women.

"It is well accepted that a glass of wine is good for your heart and reduces coronary artery and cardiovascular diseases," said Edward J. Neafsey, a co-author of the study.

The findings show the moderate alcohol consumption has same effect on the brain.

Wine was more beneficial than beer or spirits, according to the findings published in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. But the researchers said most studies in the analysis did not distinguish between the different types of alcohol.

But heavy drinking, three to five drinks a day, was associated with a higher risk of dementia.

Both Neafsey and his co-author Michael A. Collins, professors of molecular pharmacology and therapeutics, suggest that small amounts of alcohol stress and toughen brain cells and enables them to better cope with the stresses that lead to dementia at a later date.   Continued...