Heavy drinkers more likely to live to 85 without dementia, study claims

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People who enjoy up to three alcoholic drinks a day are more likely to avoid dementia, a major new study has found.

Research carried out over 30 years by the University of California discovered moderate to heavy drinkers are more likely than non-drinkers to live to 85 without cognitive impairments.

Dr Linda McEvoy, who led the research, said: “This study is unique because we considered men and women’s cognitive health at late age and found that alcohol consumption is not only associated with reduced mortality, but with greater chances of remaining cognitively healthy into older age.”

More than 1,000 middle class men and women participated in the study. Their cognitive health was assessed every four years.

Those who drank “moderate to heavy” amounts between five and seven days a week were twice as likely to be cognitively healthy than those who were teetotal.

However, researchers warned that excessive alcohol intake – classed as more than four drinks a day – can lead to alcohol-related dementia.

Dr McEvoy added: “It is important to point out that there were very few individuals in our study who drank to excess, so our study does not show how excessive or binge-type drinking may affect longevity and cognitive health in aging.”


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