Drinking to Fend off Alzheimer's

March 3/Berlin, Germany/The Express -- A tipple can help keep Alzheimer's' disease at bay in old age, says research.

Those who drink moderate amounts are at less risk of overall dementia and in particular Alzheimer's disease later in life, a study found.

Researchers at the German Research Network on Dementia chose around 3,200 over-75s who were initially dementia-free and interviewed them over a three-year period.

They found that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol "significantly" lowered the risk of overall dementia or Alzheimer's and that people who consumed light-to moderate amounts of alcohol were in "relatively good physical and mental health."

Drinking excess amounts accounts for 10% of all dementia cases, however. Half of the survey sample said they drank no alcohol. A quarter drank the equivalent of one drink -- 10g of alcohol -- each day.

Around 12.4% had two drinks a day, and another 12.4% drank more than two drinks a day, with 25 participants consuming levels of alcohol deemed to be harmful.

Half of those who drank alcohol drank wine only, around a third stuck to beer, and the others mixed their drinks. By the end of the study, around 7% of those involved had been diagnosed with overall dementia, while a further 3.5% had developed Alzheimer's, the researchers reported in the Age and Aging journal.

Hannah Clack, of the Alzheimer's Society, said, "Drinking up to three units of alcohol a day, preferably red wine, is known to have a risk-reducing effect. Although more research is needed into the subject, we think the benefits come from the antioxidants."

From the March 7, 2011, Prepared Foods E-dition