It’s a widely known and acknowledged fact that alcohol doesn’t result only in hangovers but has plenty of health advantages. The spirit, if taken in moderate amounts, is known be good for the heart, stress, a remedy for insomniacs and much more.
A new research adds to the accolades of alcohol and states that drinking modest amounts of alcohol could be beneficial to a person with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
Published in the British Medical Journal, the research suggests that patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease who drink lightly are less likely to die at an early stage of the illness.
The analysis involved studying 321 people who had a score of 20 or lower on a standard 30-question cognitive test called the mini-mental state exam. All the cases were part of the Danish Alzheimer Intervention Study. Around 71% drank one or fewer units of alcohol each day, and 17% drank two to three units.
Overall, consuming two to three units of alcohol was shown to result in a 77% lower risk for death in early stages of dementia in comparison to those who drink one or less units each day. To give you a perspective, two to three units of alcohol equals a pint of beer, a glass of wine or a double gin and tonic.
The explanation behind the people’s reaction to the alcohol remains unclear apart from a number of theories.
For example, studies state that when healthy people consume moderate amounts of alcohol, it does provide some benefits, and this phenomenon may also apply to people with Alzheimer’s.
Yet another theory is that because drinking is often a social activity, people with Alzheimer’s disease who consume alcholol are also experiencing the benefits of human interaction, which is highly beneficial for lowering feelings of loneliness and depression—both of which can be fatal in aging individuals.
In addition to these, there may also be some physiological effects at play, the researchers suggest.
Presently, a large number of aging experts advise patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease to keep their alcohol intake under check as it can worsen neurocognitive symptoms. Alcohol has also been linked to memory problems.
A study regarding this, published in Neurology involving 7,000 people found unearthed that more than two and a half drinks each day could speed up memory loss by up to six years.
Experts say that more investigation is required to understand how moderate alcohol consumption might influence the health of a person with Alzheimer’s disease, especially since their research does have some limitations.
For example, it may be that people who didn’t drink were likely to be suffering from a terminal illness already and were abstaining because of that fatal disease. Also, the sample size is relatively small.
Also, the data used in the report also were not based on research particularly aimed at understanding the alcohol-Alzheimer’s disease connection, but rather is from a general intervention study for Alzheimer’s patients.