Copenhagen, Denmark – A new study published in BMJ Open, suggests that patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease who drink in moderation, are less likely to die at an early stage of the disease.
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen, established that people in the early stages of dementia that take two or three glasses of daily alcohol, reduced the risk of death up to 77% compared to other consumption patterns.
Two or three units of alcohol are equivalent to a can of beer, a glass of wine, or a double gin tonic. In addition, researchers found that drinking more than three units had the same effect on mortality as people who don’t drink any alcohol, but if the intake was limited to two or three units, there was a difference.
In previous studies, scientists determined that moderate alcohol consumption had a protective effect against cardiovascular diseases, but they wanted to establish whether it was also effective against early Alzheimer’s. They analyzed the data collected over three years of 330 volunteers with mild Alzheimer’s who had practiced a support program during 12 months.
The assistance of caregivers who were willing to help in the study was allowed. They were given the task of evaluating alcohol consumption among participants who did not consume alcohol: those who only do it at parties; those who consume one unit or less; two to three units a day and more than three a day. Within the total of the studied patients, 8% never drank alcohol; 71% drank one unit of alcohol per day; 17% drank two to three daily units; and, 4% consumed three or more cups daily.
The benefit of taking two or three glasses of alcohol per day was independent of factors such as gender, age, living alone or with a caregiver, smoking or quality of life.
“These results are somewhat surprising because Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease and we know that alcohol can have harmful effects on the brain,” said lead author Dr. Sine Berntsen of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
However, the researchers explained that although the results showed an association between moderate alcohol consumption and the mortality of patients, the study can’t be the only base to promote or discourage moderate alcohol consumption in patients with Alzheimer’s, adding that further studies on the effect of alcohol on cognitive decline and the development of the disease in patients are needed.
Source: Northern Californian