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Moderate drinking may be good for you

health and fitness Updated: May 29, 2010 12:22 IST
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WineDrinking alcohol occasionally keeps illness away, especially in women and non-smokers, says a study.

The study involved comparison of personal data and health backgrounds of people affected with Alzheimer's disease with healthy people of the same age and gender mix, reports

Researchers found that the risk of Alzheimer's was unaffected by the amount of cigarettes smoked, but a protective effect of moderate alcohol consumption was observed, this effect was more evident in non-smoking women.

"Our results suggest a protective effect of alcohol consumption, mostly in non-smokers, and the need to consider interactions between tobacco and alcohol consumption, as well as interactions with gender, when assessing the effects of smoking and/or drinking on the risk of Alzheimer's disease" said Ana Garcia, of the University of Valencia, Spain.

"Interactive effects of smoking and drinking are supported by the fact that both alcohol and tobacco affect brain neuronal receptors," she added.

The study was conducted by interviewing the relatives of 176 Alzheimer's patients and a further group of 246 healthy people across Spain.

However, researchers feel that more research should be done on the topic.

"While the idea that alcohol might protect us from dementia is enticing, we don't yet know this with certainty," said Rebecca Wood, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Research Trust.

"The most compelling evidence we have for reducing dementia risk is to eat a healthy diet, take plenty of exercise, and to keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check, particularly in midlife. We desperately need more studies like this to determine conclusively the lifestyle choices we can all make to help reduce dementia risk," she added.