Largest study of its kind finds alcohol use biggest risk factor for dementia

This story appeared on Body and Soul, and was discussed by Dr Daniel Lane, Clinical Director at the Perth Brain Centre, and Jenny Seaton on Curtin Radio.

The results of possibly the largest study ever conducted looking at the relationship between alcohol consumption and dementia have just been published in The Lancet Public Health Journal. Researchers in France studied over 1 million adults diagnosed with dementia and looked at the link with drinking alcohol. They found that the majority (57%) of adults diagnosed with early-onset dementia (that is dementia that starts before 65 years old), were associated with heavy drinking.

Heavy drinkers are putting themselves at risk of dementia

So what is classified as heavy drinking?

Well it’s not as much as some people might think. The World Health Organisation classifies heavy drinking as more than 60g of alcohol per day for men and 40g of alcohol per day for women. This is the equivalent of about 4 bottles of beer or 4 glasses of wine per day for men, and about 2.5 for women. The Department of Health recommends no more than 2 standard drinks on any day, which is less than 2 bottles of beer or glasses of wine.

So with International Brain Awareness Week starting on the 12th  of March, now is a particularly good time for everyone to reflect on how much they are drinking. Drinking less is the easiest way to help look after your brain and prevent Dementia.

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