Two drinks a day ‘cuts Alzheimer’s death risk’: Moderate consumption found to reduce chance in patients by 77%
Drinking two small glasses of wine a day may reduce risk of death for Alzheimer’s patients, suggests new research by scientists in Denmark
Those who consumed ‘moderate’ volumes of alcohol had a 77 per cent lower risk of death compared with those who drank one unit or less daily
Experts say more research is needed before firm conclusions are drawn
Source: Daily Mail
By Ben Spencer
10 December 2015
Drinking two small glasses of wine a day may reduce the risk of death for Alzheimer’s patients, research suggests.
The study found those who consumed ‘moderate’ volumes of alcohol – between three and 4.5 units a day – had a 77 per cent lower risk of death compared with those who drank one unit or less a day.
Two small glasses of wine have a total of 3.2 units, and two pints of beer 4.6 units.
Experts warned last night that more research is needed before firm conclusions can be drawn from the findings.
Dr Doug Brown, of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘This study is not a green light for people with Alzheimer’s disease to start drinking more.’
The researchers behind the Danish Alzheimer’s Intervention Study, led by scientists at Copenhagen University Hospital, tracked 321 people with early Alzheimer’s disease for three years.
They found that 8 per cent of patients drank no alcohol at all, and at the other end of the scale, 4 per cent drank more than 4.5 units a day.
About one in six participants (17 per cent) drank between three and 4.5 units a day.
During the monitoring period, 16.5 per cent of the participants died.
The scientists found that the results held true after taking into account gender, age, lifestyle and health conditions.
But they admitted that those who drank more may have come from wealthier background, which tends to increase life expectancy.
Another explanation may be that those who are sicker, and closer to death, are likely to drink less anyway.
The scientists, writing in the journal BMJ Open, said: ‘The results of our study point towards a potential positive association of moderate alcohol consumption on mortality in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
‘However, we cannot solely, on the basis of this study, either encourage or advise against moderate alcohol consumption in these patients.’
Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance said: ‘This study is interesting and is in line with suggestions that low levels of alcohol consumption might protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
‘However, all studies like this, including those purporting to show a benefit of moderate alcohol in heart disease, are bedevilled by the confounding factor that non-drinking groups include those that have stopped because of ill-health.’
Dr Laura Phipps from Alzheimer’s Research UK, added: ‘While these kinds of studies are useful in highlighting trends, it’s difficult to tease apart cause and correlation, and factors such as general health, medication and previous drinking habits could also have an impact.
‘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.
‘Currently, general advice around alcohol is to not drink to excess, with NHS guidelines recommending no more than 3-4 units of alcohol per day for men, and 2-3 units for women.
‘In the meantime, continued investment in research is vital to find preventions for dementia and to better understand how different levels of alcohol consumption affect the brain.’