A drink a day may slow progression of dementia

 Def: dementia – mental deterioration of organic or functional origin.

Having a drink now and then — up to an average of one drink of alcohol each day — may slow the progression of dementia in older people, Italian researchers said in a study quoted by media reports Tuesday.

May 22 (Xinhuanet) — Having a drink now and then — up to an average of one drink of alcohol each day — may slow the progression of dementia in older people, Italian researchers said in a study quoted by media reports Tuesday.

    “While many studies have assessed alcohol consumption and cognitive function in the elderly, this is the first study to look at how alcohol consumption affects the rate of progression of mild cognitive impairment to dementia,” study authors Dr. Vincenzo Solfrizzi and Dr. Francesco Panza, from the University of Bari in Italy, said in a statement.

    The study, published in the journal Neurology, involving 1,445 people found that 121 had early signs of dementia. The participants were between 65 and 84 years of age at the start of the study, and they were followed for 3.5 years. Alcohol use was assessed starting the year before the survey.

    The researchers found those patients who drank one alcoholic drink a day — in most cases a glass of wine — developed dementia at a rate 85 percent slower than people who never drank alcohol.

    The benefit was seen with both alcohol in general and with wine in particular.

    Drinking more than one drink a day, however, did not help to slow down dementia, according to the study.

    “The mechanism responsible for why low alcohol consumption appears to protect against the progression to dementia isn’t known. However, it is possible that the arrangement of blood vessels in the brain may play a role,” Solfrizzi and Panza conclude.

    Dementia is a brain disorder that affects millions of people, mostly older adults.

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