Dementia and Alcohol Use Linked
According to a recent study cited in Time Magazine, heavy drinking plays a substantial role in the development of dementia for both men and women.
"The findings, which are published in The Lancet Public Health, came as a shock to the researchers involved. 'We hypothesized that alcohol would play some role, but I don’t think anyone expected the size of the effect to be so large,' says lead author Dr. Jürgen Rehm, director of the University of Toronto’s Center for Addiction and Mental Health Institute for Mental Health Policy Research. [...]
Rehm and his colleagues analyzed hospital records of more than 1 million adults in France who were diagnosed with dementia between 2008 and 2013. The researchers looked for known dementia risk factors, such as tobacco smoking, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, lower education and hearing loss. But they also looked for evidence of alcohol use disorders—identified as alcohol-related mental, behavioral or physical health conditions (like liver disease or head injury) listed on patients’ hospital records.
Surprisingly, they found that having an alcohol use disorder was the strongest predictor of a dementia diagnosis, for both men and women, out of all the potential risk factors included in the analysis. The association between alcohol use and dementia remained significant across all age groups in the study, and across all different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease."