Can Moderate Drinking Help People With Alzheimer’s Live Longer?

Will My Insurance Pay for Rehab?

Sponsored Legal Stuff - This is an advertisement for Service Industries, Inc., part of a network of commonly owned substance abuse treatment service providers. Responding to this ad will connect you to one of Service Industries, Inc.’s representatives to discuss your insurance benefits and options for obtaining treatment at one of its affiliated facilities only. Service Industries, Inc. Service Industries, Inc. is unable to discuss the insurance benefits or options that may be available at any unaffiliated treatment center or business. If this advertisement appears on the same web page as a review of any particular treatment center or business, the contact information (including phone number) for that particular treatment center or business may be found at the bottom of the review.

Can Moderate Drinking Help People With Alzheimer’s Live Longer?

By May Wilkerson 12/16/15

While drinking typically has a toxic effect on the brain, a new study argues otherwise for those with Alzheimer's.

Image: 
elderly man drinking champagne.jpg
Shutterstock

Though some experts say these claims may be overstated, moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to a range of health benefits, from heart health to reduced risk of dementia. Now a new study suggests that moderate drinking could lower the risk of premature death among people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder with symptoms that usually surface later in life. Since alcohol is known to have potentially toxic effects on the brain, it could be assumed that drinking is bad news for people with Alzheimer’s. But the new study, from the University of Copenhagen, actually found that moderate drinking could have the reverse effect.

Researchers examined 320 individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and found the mortality risk was 77% lower among those who consumed two to three alcoholic drinks a day compared to those who had one drink or none at all. This reduced risk of mortality remained even when accounting for other factors like age, gender, educational level, smoking habit, quality of life, and other illnesses.

"The results of our study point towards a potential, positive association of moderate alcohol consumption on mortality in patients with Alzheimer's disease," said head researcher Sine Berntsen and colleagues. "However, we cannot solely, on the basis of this study, either encourage or advise against moderate alcohol consumption in [these] patients.”

The researchers explained that this association does not necessarily mean that moderate drinking is the direct cause of the lower mortality rate. The lifestyle of a moderate drinker, particularly a more active social life, could help improve their overall quality of life and, consequently, their mental and physical health.

They called for more research into the effects of alcohol on the brain, to help people with Alzheimer’s get a better idea of how much alcohol they should drink, if any. "Some studies have suggested that moderate alcohol intake could have a protective effect on the brain but further research is needed to explore this and help determine a specific ‘safe’ level of alcohol consumption for healthy people and those living with dementia," the authors wrote.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix
Disqus comments
Disqus comments