Is drinking good for you? Bottoms up, scientists say dementia is less likely in drinkers

 
Lynsey Barber
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Drinkers were found to have better brain health than those who didn't drink (Source: Getty)

There's a new reason to pour another glass of wine thanks to scientists.

Those drinking moderately but regularly are more likely to live to the ripe old age of 85 without suffering from dementia compared to those who eschew alcohol all together.

The benefits of drinking have been pegged as making you happy and being good for your heart, but now researchers have identified a link between brain health and how much you drink.

Read more: Scientists think stressful life events could be linked to dementia

“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,” said professor Linda McEvoy of the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and author of the paper, published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

And the study even found that heavier drinkers were benefiting, with those over 85 consuming "moderate to heavy" amounts for five to seven days a week found to be twice as likely to have healthy brain cognition. It did not look at the impact of excessive binge drinking, however.

Read more: Soon you could make a beer at home with the touch of a button

The major study tracked brain heath according to standard dementia tests and alcohol intake over a 29-year period and took into account other lifestyle factors, but largely had participants who were white and middle class.

“This study shows that moderate drinking may be part of a healthy lifestyle to maintain cognitive fitness in ageing,” said lead author Erin Richard.

“However, it is not a recommendation for everyone to drink. Some people have health problems that are made worse by alcohol, and others cannot limit their drinking to only a glass or two per day. For these people, drinking can have negative consequences.”

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