Moderate drinking associated with lower risk of dementia

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Elderly adults who consume about two alcoholic beverages per day are at a significantly lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia than non-drinkers, according to new research from Germany.

Researchers said that study subjects who consumed a moderate amount of alcohol were 30% less likely to develop dementia, and 40% less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, than the non-drinking participants.

The study, from the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, sampled 3,200 German seniors aged 75 and older. At the start of the study, none of the participants had dementia. Over the course of three years, participants were occasionally interviewed about their drinking habits and evaluated for signs of dementia. During that time, 217 participants were diagnosed with some for of dementia.

Drinking-and-health researcher Dr. Erik Skovenborg noted that the study results could be explained, in part, by the fact that older men and women who drink alcohol sensibly in old age also have a healthier lifestyle in terms of physical, dietary, and mental perspectives. The study was published in the most recent online edition of the journal Age and Aging.