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expert reaction to alcohol, memory and dementia

A study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry reported a correlation between middle-aged adults having a history of problem drinking and severe memory impairment in later life.


Dr Eric Karran, Director of Research, Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“This large, well-conducted study suggests that people with harmful drinking habits may have a higher risk of dementia, and this is not the first time heavy alcohol consumption has been linked to poor brain health. One strength of this study is its long time period: as dementia develops slowly over a number of years it’s crucial to understand what factors could affect our risk of the condition earlier in life. Although studies such as this one can be very useful for observing health trends, it’s important to note that they are not able to show cause and effect, and it’s not clear whether other factors may also have influenced these results.

“Dementia affects over 800,000 people in the UK today and with that number increasing, we urgently need to find ways to prevent the condition. In the meantime, evidence suggests that not drinking too much can help lower our risk of dementia, along with a healthy, balanced diet, regular exercise, and keeping blood pressure and weight in check.”


‘History of Alcohol Use Disorders and Risk of Severe Cognitive Impairment: A 19-Year Prospective Cohort Study’ by Kuzma et al. published in American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry on Tuesday 29th July.


Declared interests

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