Alcohol Linked With Dementia, The Odd Effects Examined:
While alcohol can be a lot of fun, science keeps finding reasons for us to be cautious.
And also to think very seriously about moderation.
For example, drinking to excess can result in endotoxin-related inflammation.
But still more consequences loom over the horizon as we progress through life.
And of all people, Power-Drinking British researchers are now reporting on the association between Alcohol and Dementia…
Again With The Moderation:
So as you might have guessed, a certain amount of moderation seems to be the key.
And heavy-drinkers would seem to have the biggest problems.
The same rules hold for this recent study, too.
But what’s important, is that the studiers looked at alcohol-use just prior to the age when Alzheimer’s & Dementia really start to crop up.
These people were all middle-aged, at about an average of 50 years-old.
And in those ~9,100 people, the ones that averaged more than 2 Drinks a Day had a 40% higher average risk of dementia than the subjects who only consumed between 1 Drink/Week and 1 Drink a Day.
The Risk Per Unit:
Furthermore, for every 1/2 Drink/Day their intake increased,
Their risk also went up Another 17%!
…Strangely-enough, 2 Drinks/Day is now the official maximum “Safe” limit of alcohol consumption in the UK.
Note that for the US, 1 Drink/Day is the maximum safe-limit for Women, as determined by the CDC,
Whereas 2/Day is only allowed for the average Man.
On The Other Hand:
Now on the opposite side of the UK Study,
Alcohol-consumption in moderation has actually been recommended,
Specifically for its cardiovascular and cognitive role in increasing blood-flow and decreasing excessive clotting that could lead to heart-attack or stroke.
But For Leaving Las Vegas Drinkers, It Gets Even Worse:
You’d think heavy-drinking carried enough problems already.
But for the serious problem-cases, the prospects were even-grimmer.
Subjects who went the full-monty and had a history of being hospitalized for alcoholism had a 400% increased risk for the disease over the average person!
-Not to mention the increase in many kinds of Cancers versus moderate-drinkers.
Drinking & Alzheimer’s, The Good, The Bad, And Now The Oddy:
Although researchers strained to say it doesn’t imply a recommendation,
They found something really weird in the results.
Subjects who didn’t drink at-all had an increased-risk for Dementia also!
Almost 75% Higher than average people!
It’s possible this group may have gotten hit by a double-whammy.
Speculation On Confounding Factors:
1) They’re no-longer getting the anti-clotting, pro-circulatory benefits of alcohol.
2) They are more likely to have been previous heavy-drinkers and were forced to stop, so the damage was already done.
3) Abstainers are more likely to suffer from cardiometabolic-diseases like diabetes & coronary-artery disease.
3a) For that matter, the study does not explore a correlation with Bodyfat or BMI for any of the subjects, either.
There was no word on whether or not they were taking anything like Baby-Aspirin as a subsitute,
But it’s just another potential instance of creating problems that come home to roost later.
The Absence Of Clear Prevention Science & Recommendations:
Unfortunately, there are several camps giving different recommendations.
-Including at least one study that was stopped-entirely because it was funded in-large-part by alcohol companies.
And so, short of the WHO always sounding like Chicken-Little,
Avoiding alcohol is not in the list of standard health-recommendations for preventing/eliminating dementia in many countries as of now.
It’s possible that will change as time goes by and more research is too prevalent for the CDC to ignore.
For Now, We Just Have The Standard Guidelines:
In the meantime, especially since this type of study is not as strong at pinpointing causes as the more difficult types,
All we have are similar messages with perhaps tighter warnings.
Keep yourself at a healthy-weight with good nutrition and don’t get too fat.
Do 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every single day.
And for now, try to stick to the CDC’s limits on alcohol.
PS, Just A Guess:
This is just wild-speculation and is probably incorrect.
But if people tend to drink alcohol late,
Alcohol can stay in your system for up to 6 hours,
And alcohol is great at ruining a night of sleep for many people.
-What if that cleaning-system we all have in our brains that prevents Alzheimer’s stops working if we don’t sleep well?
Just a thought.
Though all of the strange links between drinking alcohol and Dementia-like disease aren’t known, maybe sometimes moderation paired with a few good guesses can help…
Photo Credits: “Contains Lead – Warning on Gas Pump”, by kgreggain
• Source: UCL UK
• Source Study: BMJ – Alcohol consumption and risk of dementia: 23 year follow-up of Whitehall II cohort study