Scientists have recently found that whether you drink too much or not at all, you may increase your risk for developing dementia.
In the December issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, a Finnish study found that people who either didn’t drink at all or those who drank heavily, are at increased risk for dementia later in life.
Led by Jyri Virta from the University of Turku in Finland, scientists discovered that the pattern of drinking and the amount of alcohol consumed were both crucial factors in the risk for dementia.
For example, people who drank the quantity of a bottle of wine at one sitting only once a month but controlled their drinking the rest of the time, still increased their risk for dementia according to the researchers. The study found that binge drinking actually doubled the risk.
Even more scary was the fact that the study claims that passing out from heavy drinking just once was enough to increase one’s risk for cognitive impairment.
The research depended on a study group established in 1974 called the Finnish twin cohort. It explored links between the environment and chronic diseases.
In a statement the scientist Jyri Virta said, “Our finding is significant as the changes typical of Alzheimer’s disease – the most common dementia syndrome – are thought to start appearing two to three decades before clinical manifestation and therefore identification of early risk factors is imperative.”
Surprisingly, people who never drank alcohol were found to be at more risk for cognitive impairment than moderate drinkers. This finding provides even more proof that totally staying away from alcohol can increase some health risks. In earlier research, non-drinkers were four times more likely to get rheumatoid arthritis than moderate drinkers.
The researchers used questionnaires on which people rated their own drinking, possibly distorting the results.
Virta said that one explanation for moderate drinkers showing some health benefits could be that they are more likely to live healthier in general.