Moderate drinking linked to reduced risk of death in early stage Alzheimer’s disease

Alcohol
Image source: NHS PhotoLibrary

 

Drinking 2 to 3 units of alcohol every day is linked to a reduced risk of death among people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease, finds research published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Moderate drinking has been associated with a lower risk of developing and dying from heart disease and stroke. But alcohol is known to damage brain cells, and given that dementia is a neurodegenerative disorder, drinking might be harmful in those with the condition.

The researchers therefore wanted to find out if the same potentially positive association between alcohol and a reduced risk of cardiovascular death could be applied to 321 people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease, defined as a score of 20 or less on the Mini Mental State Exam (MMSE).

The research team analysed data originally collected on 330 people with early stage dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and their primary carers from across Denmark as part of the Danish Alzheimer’s Intervention Study (DAISY).

During the monitoring period, 53 (16.5%) of those with mild Alzheimer’s disease died. Consumption of 2-3 units of alcohol every day was associated with a 77% lowered risk of death compared with a tally of 1 or fewer daily units.

Read the full article via Sine Berntsen, et al. Alcohol consumption and mortality in patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease: a prospective cohort study. BMJ Open, 2015; 5 (12): e007851

Read the full commentary via ScienceDaily

 

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