Moderate drinking may extend life expectancy in Alzheimer’s, a recent study featured in the journal BMJ Open has revealed.
Researchers at the Department of Public Health, from the University of Southern Denmark analyzed health data pertaining to 321 patients who had been diagnosed with mild dementia.
The information had been collected during the Danish Alzheimer’s Intervention Study (DAISY), and the purpose of the trial was to identify potential associations between alcohol use and mortality rates among Alzheimer’s sufferers.
Approximately 71% of the participants drank every once in a while, 17% were moderate drinkers (2-3 alcohol units per day), while 8% declared themselves to be teetotalers.
It was determined that subjects who had ingested moderate amounts of alcohol during the week had a 77% lower probability of dying early due to Alzheimer’s, in contrast with their counterparts who had abstained from alcohol entirely, or who had consumed just one such drink on a daily basis.
In addition, having up to 3 units of alcohol per day improved the likelihood of Alzheimer’s patients still being alive 3 years after the debut of the study by as much as 71%, when compared to that of other subjects who had indulged in drinking much more infrequently.
On the other hand, patients who drank more than 3 alcohol units on a daily basis had similar death rates to those who had only been having non-alcoholic beverages.
Apparently, the findings seem to indicate that moderate use of alcohol could be beneficial in prolonging the lives of those suffering from this debilitating brain disease.
However, further research must first be conducted in order to establish a more solid correspondence between moderate drinking and increased life expectancy among Alzheimer’s patients.
It may be that in fact this newfound zest for living isn’t actually triggered by alcohol per se, but instead by another factor related to it.
For instance, one explanation which is now being considered is that those who consume alcoholic drinks without reaching the point of abusing them may simply have more active and fulfilling social lives.
This improved support system may be the one responsible for boosted life prognosis encountered among certain individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
The positive effects of alcohol have been emphasized recently by another study conducted by Israeli scientists at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, who have revealed in October that having a glass of red wine before bed assisted type 2 diabetes patients in sleeping better, and in boosting their lipid profiles.
On the other hand, a team of physicians at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, working alongside experts at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health have recently proven that even small quantities of alcohol ingested regularly can increase the risk of cancer, especially among women.
Given these misgivings, study authors have declared that until a definite cause and effect relationship can be proved, they will not be issuing the recommendation of drinking alcohol to those suffering from the neurodegenerative disorder known as Alzheimer’s disease, especially since such behavior might result in more rapid cognitive decline.
As specified in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, formulated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, men should only have 2 drinks per day, while women should limit their daily alcohol consumption to one drink.
A standard unit of alcohol is calculated as 0.6 ounces of pure ethanol, the equivalent of a 12-ounce beer can (with a 5% alcohol concentration) or of a 5-ounce glass of table wine (with a 12% alcohol content).
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