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Thursday, November 5, 2009

1-2 Alcoholic Drinks Per Day May Thwart Dementia

A study was described in the Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter of October 2009 relating alcohol consumption to dementia (deterioration of mental ability). The study, by Dr. Kaycee Sink of Wake Forest University found that of 3,069 test subjects, all of whom were over age 75, those who drank 1-2 alcoholic beverages per day were 37% less likely than non-drinkers to develop dementia within 5 years. However, of those subject who already showed some mental impairment, those drinking 3 or more alcoholic beverages per day were almost twice as likely as non-drinkers to develop dementia. Health authorities caution that non-drinkers should not start drinking to improve their health risk profile. However, 1-2 drinks per day also decreases risk of heart disease. The drawbacks of even this level of drinking are that alcohol tends to reduce a man’s testosterone level and any alcohol at all increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer.

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