Remember Remember, the 5th of…

Remember Remember, the 5th of…


Recent research suggests that problem drinking throughout middle age can as much as double the risk of memory loss later in life.

The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry has found that men and women between 50 & 69, that also have a history of alcohol abuse were more likely to have memory problems into their 70’s & 80’s

Researches questioned over 6,000 middle-aged adults in the U.S. about their past alcohol consumption and claim that it is a real public health issue that needs to be addressed.

The questions focussed on three specific areas:

  • Had people criticised the amount they’d been drinking?
  • Had they ever felt guilty about how much they drank?
  • Had they ever had a drink first thing in the morning for whatever reason?

Those who answered yes to one of these questions were considered to have a problem with alcohol and that they had more than double the risk of developing severe memory impairment.

Speaking to the BBC following the study, lead researcher Dr Iain Lang,¬†from the University of Exeter Medical School said “We know that alcohol is bad for the brain in general, but it’s not just how much you drink but how it affects you,”

“The amount that you drink is important – what is also important is if you experience any problems in your drinking or if other people tell you you have a problem.”

He advised drinking within recommended daily and weekly amounts and to cut down if affected by any of the items in the questionnaire, as ignoring this could increase dementia risk.

Adding to the analysis, Dr Doug Brown, director of research and development at the Alzheimer’s Society charity, said “This small study shows that people who admitted to alcohol abuse at some point in their lives were twice as likely to have severe memory problems, and as the research relied on self-reporting that number may be even higher.

“This isn’t to say that people need to abstain from alcohol altogether. As well as eating a healthy diet, not smoking and maintaining a healthy weight, the odd glass of red wine could even help reduce your risk of developing dementia.”

Dr Eric Karran, science director at Alzheimer’s Research UK, added: “Although studies such as this one can be very useful for observing health trends, it’s important to note that they are not able to show cause and effect, and it’s not clear whether other factors may also have influenced these results.”

Everything in moderation. As they say in the Dordogne, “Blanc sur rouge, rien ne bouge; rouge sur blanc, tout fout le camp!”

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