Light to moderate drinking may help reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, scientists have reported, after a three-year study found lower incidence of these diseases among those who drink.
German scientists from seven mental health research institutions in Mannheim, Hanover, Bonn, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Munich and Leipzig conducted the study on over 3,300 people aged over 75. The findings were published today in the journal Age and Aging by the Oxford University Press.
People who consume one or two drinks were found to have 29 % less incidence of dementia and 42 % less chance of dementia than others. The findings substantiate earlier work that has hinted at an inverse relation between alcohol consumption and dementia.
Out of 3,327 patients interviewed in their homes by trained investigators, 3,202 were without dementia at the start of the study. They were reassessed one and a half, and three years later. Alcohol consumption information was available for 3,180 people.
Within the follow up period of three years, 217 cases of dementia were detected while 111 cases of Alzeimer's were detected among those who did not have either disease at the start of the study.
The statistically most significant finding came from those who consumed between 20 and 29 grams of alcohol and described in the study as low to moderate drinkers. They had the least risk of dementia and Alzheimer's.
The amount of 20-29 grams of alcohol would range from 20-29 ml to 25-36 ml depending on the concentration of ethanol in the drink. A typical drink in India consists of 30 ml alcohol.