August 19, 2011
Science Daily/Loyola University Health System
Moderate social drinking may significantly reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive impairment, suggests a new analysis of 143 studies.
Wine was more beneficial than beer or spirits. But this finding was based on a relatively small number of studies, because most papers did not distinguish among different types of alcohol.
Heavy drinking (more than 3 to 5 drinks per day) was associated with a higher risk of cognitive impairment and dementia, but this finding was not statistically significant. "We don't recommend that nondrinkers start drinking," Neafsey said. "But moderate drinking -- if it is truly moderate -- can be beneficial." Moderate drinking is defined as a maximum of two drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women.
The researchers note that there are other things besides moderate drinking that can reduce the risk of dementia, including exercise, education and a Mediterranean diet high in fruits, vegetables, cereals, beans, nuts and seeds. Even gardening has been shown to reduce the risk of dementia.