Beer Servings
A waiter carries beer mugs on the opening day of a beer garden in Vienna. REUTERS

Cutting down on alcohol is one of the most sworn New Year's resolutions. People are aware of the health risks associated with too much drinking, but many find it unachievable to quit the drinking habit. A recent public advisory explains the advantages of drinking moderately to avoid brain function deterioration. According to Professor Alistair Burns, National Clinical Director for Dementia in England, studies have proven how alcohol abuse increases the possibility of developing dementia in old age. Alcohol-related dementia is caused by long-term alcohol intoxication. Individuals suffering from this condition experience a wide range of symptoms that include decreased capacity to plan, memory loss, and apathy.

Professor Burns says, "While stopping drinking altogether isn't a reality for many people, cutting down can make a huge difference. However, it can be very easy for one glass to lead to two and then to a bottle and this can seriously increase you risk of developing dementia in later life along with many other health conditions."

To reduce cases of alcohol abuse, government health agencies worldwide have set recommended limits for alcohol intake. Guidelines vary for each country and depend on certain restrictions. In England, the Department of Health recommends a maximum limit of 3-4 units of alcohol a day for regular male drinkers and a maximum limit of 2-3 units a day for female drinkers. A unit of alcohol is usually 10 ml and usual servings would provide 1 to 3 units.

People may not notice that heavy drinking is common in older individuals. Oftentimes, dementia related to alcohol abuse is under-diagnosed. Generally, it is difficult to diagnose alcohol-related dementia for now because this particular field needs more in-depth research. Still, it is better to abstain from alcohol during early stages of dementia to reduce problems in managing the disease. Thiamine is also noted an essential supplement for alcoholics.

At present, global prevalence of dementia is presently estimated at 35.6 million, according to the World Health Organisation, and 58 percent of which occur in developing and low-income countries and the average number of new cases yearly is approximately 7.7 million. In England, around 683,000 individuals were estimated to have this illness, but only 55 percent have been diagnosed. Prime Minister David Cameron and the National Health Service has expressed their goal of helping two thirds of individuals with dementia with diagnosis and post diagnosis support in 2015.

To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, email: