Friday, 22 February, 2019

Get drinking! Abstinence just as bad for you as getting bladdered

Middle-aged non-drinkers may have 'higher risk' of dementia Get drinking! Abstinence just as bad for you as getting bladdered
Gustavo Carr | 05 August, 2018, 01:46

The research, led by Severine Sabia at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, also found that - among moderate drinkers - wine consumption correlated with a lower risk of dementia than beer or spirits, such as whiskey, gin or vodka.

'These results suggest that abstention and excessive alcohol consumption are associated with an increased risk of dementia, although the underlying mechanisms are likely to be different in the two groups, ' the authors wrote.

Giving up alcohol in middle age may not be the healthy alternative people think, according to a new study.

"Future research will need to examine drinking habits across a whole lifetime, and this well help to shed more light on the relationship between alcohol and dementia".

Those who abstained were found to have a 45% higher risk of dementia compared with people who consumed between one and 14 units of alcohol per week.

"Not only does moderate, sensible consumption of alcohol reduce the incidence of dementia compared to teetotallers, there is evidence it also has beneficial effects in guarding against type II diabetes, heart disease, stroke, macular degeneration and many other conditions", said James Calder, head of public affairs at SIBA.

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The participants, with an average age of 50, had the amount they drank monitored between 1985 and 2004.

The 14-drink-per-week maximum - similar to guidelines in other countries - is the equivalent of six medium (175-millilitre) glasses of wine at 13 per cent alcohol, six pints of four per cent beer, or 14 25-ml shots of 40-degree spirits.

At the greatest risk of dementia, researchers said, were individuals with a history of hospital admissions for alcohol-related diseases. They noted that with every seven-unit/week increase there was a significant 17 per cent increase in dementia risk.

The paper, by an Anglo-French team of researchers indicates that those civil servants who drank moderately in middle age were less likely to develop dementia than either tee-total counterparts or those who drank to excess.

She said: "People who completely abstain from alcohol may have a history of heavy drinking and this can make it hard to interpret the links between drinking and health". This being said, earlier consumption may contribute to higher dementia risk, as the illness "involves neuropathological changes over many years, perhaps decades".

This study is important since it fills gaps in knowledge, "but we should remain cautious and not change current recommendations on alcohol use based exclusively on epidemiological studies", says Sevil Yasar at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in a linked editorial.