Moderate drinking lowers the risk of death in mild Alzheimer’s by 77 percent

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Men drinking beer
Men drink beer at a restaurant in Hanoi July 20, 2009. Reuters/Kham

Moderate drinking of alcohol is associated with reduced risk among people with early stage Alzheimer’s. A study published by an online journal, BMJ Open, on Dec. 11 claims that drinking two to three units of alcohol every day reduces the risk of death by 77 percent.

The researchers analysed 321 patients with Alzheimer’s through data gathered from the Danish Alzheimer's Intervention Study (DAISY). 17 percent of the participants drank two to three units of alcohol daily, 71 percent drank one unit or fewer, eight percent drank no alcohol and four percent drank more than three units daily.

For three years, the researchers tracked the progress of these participants, where 16.5 percent died. Participants who took two to three units of alcohol daily had a 77 percent reduced risk of death compared to participants who only drank one or fewer alcohol each day.

“It came as a surprise,” said senior author Frans Boch Waldorff, a professor in the Department of Public Health at University of Southern Denmark, Time Magazine reports. “We thought perhaps if you had a brain disease, you would not tolerate alcohol in the way of people without brain disease.”

The researchers say that having a rich social network, which improves the quality of life, might be the possible explanation for the results. Nevertheless, the team suggests that more research is required to support these findings.

"The results of our study point towards a potential, positive association of moderate alcohol consumption on mortality in patients with Alzheimer's disease,” the researchers conclude. “However, we cannot solely, on the basis of this study, either encourage or advise against moderate alcohol consumption in [these] patients."

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