Individuals who moderately consume alcohol throughout their lifetimes show fewer deposits of dementia-associated amyloid-beta in brain scans, according to Korean researchers.

Investigators interviewed more than 400 dementia-free men and women from age 56 to 90 about their drinking habits. All participated in brain scans, physical exams and cognitive testing. 

Participants who drank one to 13 standard drinks a week had a 66% lower rate of amyloid-beta deposits than a cohort who abstained from drinking. Standard drinks were defined as any drink that contained 10 grams of pure alcohol, which amounts to a bit less than in a can of beer or a small glass of wine. 

The results held only for participants who reported drinking moderately for decades. Those who had begun drinking moderately in recent years or drank more than 13 standard drinks each week did not show the same benefits, the researchers noted.

The study was published in PLOS Medicine.