Drinking Too Much Alcohol (And Too Little) Is Linked to Dementia – TIME

To drink or not to drink when it comes to your health really depends on a few important factors, including how much you imbibe and what health issues you’re concerned about. Alcohol in moderation can lower the risk of heart disease for some people, as well as reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and gallstones. But excessive drinking — more than about a drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men — is also linked to several types of cancer, including breast, colon, pharynx, larynx and esophageal. Too much alcohol can also take a toll on the liver.

Some studies have also suggested that moderate drinking may be good for the brain, but most of these focused on elderly people and their recent drinking habits, making it hard to draw any conclusions about the effect of lifetime drinking patterns. So Severine Sabia, a researcher at Inserm, and her colleagues analyzed data from a large UK database to track alcohol consumption from middle age and its effect on dementia in later life. Among more than 9,000 middle-aged people ages 35 to 55, who were followed for about 23 years, those with drinking habits at the two extremes — people who abstained from drinking, as well as those who drank more than around 14 glasses of wine a week — showed higher risk of dementia than those who drank one to eight glasses of wine a week.

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Before you decide whether your own drinking habits put you at increased or decreased risk of dementia, there are a couple of things to remember. First, dementia was evaluated by medical records and death certificates;

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