Moderate drinking could prevent dementia, analysis finds

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Imbibing in the occasional glass of wine might actually reduce the risk of dementia, according to an analysis of 143 studies conducted since 1977.

Moderate alcohol consumption is linked to a lower risk of developing dementia, Alzheimer's disease and other forms of cognitive impairment, according to researchers at Loyola University's Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. The team analyzed data from previous studies encompassing 365,000 people. For the purposes of the study, the researchers defined moderate drinking as two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.

Investigators say that wine proved more beneficial than beer or spirits, though they noted that heavy drinkers — or those who have more than three to five drinks per day — had a higher risk of dementia and cognitive impairment. 

"We don't recommend that nondrinkers start drinking," said study co-author Edward J. Neafsey, Ph.D. “But moderate drinking — if it is truly moderate — can be beneficial."

Results are reported in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.