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Dementia Less Prevalent in Moderate Drinkers than Abstainers, Study Says

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An analysis of 15 previously published research studies concludes that moderate drinkers are less likely to develop dementia as they age compared with nondrinkers, Medical News Today reported Aug. 30.

“We found that light to moderate drinkers were 28 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's than nondrinkers, 25 percent less likely to develop vascular dementia, and 26 percent less likely to develop 'any dementia,'” said researcher Kaarin Anstey of the Australian National University.

The review encompassed studies involving more than 10,000 subjects.

Some of the studies did not quantify the extent of alcohol consumption, rather classifying subjects as either  'drinkers' or 'nondrinkers.' Even in these cases, however, drinking was associated with reduced risk of dementia. “It should be noted that the studies we found on this topic nearly all focussed on older adults and their drinking habits,” said Anstey. “There is not yet enough scientific data published to draw conclusions about how early life alcohol consumption affects later dementia risk. We also did not analyze the type of alcohol beverages consumed as there are not enough studies that reported results separately for beer, wine, etc.”

The report is published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

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