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Moderate Drinking Might Guard Against Alzheimer's
Date:7/13/2009

But only among those who are not cognitively impaired, study finds

MONDAY, July 13 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults with no history of dementia could cut their odds of Alzheimer's and other cognitive decline by regular moderate drinking, new research suggests.

Defining "moderate" as having one to two drinks a day, the study authors observed that drinking in this range was associated with a nearly 40 percent drop in dementia risk, compared with non-drinkers.

However, those with a history of even moderate brain health issues did not appear to benefit from any amount of alcohol consumption, and appeared to face a significantly greater risk for dementia in the face of a heavy drinking habit.

"We found that for cognitively normal older adults, the lowest risk of dementia was for those who drank an average of one to two alcoholic drinks per day," said study author Dr. Kaycee M. Sink, an assistant professor of medicine with the department of internal medicine in the Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine section at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C. "However, for older adults who started the study with mild cognitive impairment, alcohol use was not protective."

Sink and her colleagues were slated to present their findings Monday at the Alzheimer's Association annual meeting, in Vienna.

The findings are based on work with 3,069 dementia-free adults over the age of 75 who were living in their community.

Nearly all were white, and all underwent initial testing to identify those who already had a mild form of cognitive impairment. Over the six-year study, participants also reported their drinking behavior, and were divided into abstinent, light (one to seven drinks a week), moderate (eight to 14 drinks a week), and heavy (more than 14 drinks a week) alcohol-consumption groups.

Sink and her team found that 482 of the participants had mild cognitive impairment wh
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