There’s nothing quite like putting your feet up and indulging in a nice glass of wine after a long day. But what if you we told you that doing just that six times a week could help ward off dementia? Because that’s exactly what a new study has suggested.
New research carried out by scientists at University College London has found that middle-aged people who are teetotal have a 47 percent greater risk of developing dementia, and that individuals who consumed six glasses of wine or six pints of beer a week were much less likely to develop the disease.
In fact, long-term abstainers (people who used to drink, but have since kicked the habit) had the highest risk, as the study highlighted that they were 67 percent more likely to develop dementia.
But, before you go off to plan your guilt-free binge drinking session – keep reading. Despite the initial results, the study also found that for every three additional drinks above six consumed per week, your risk of developing the condition rises by 17 percent. This means that both excessive drinking and complete sobriety can cause a risk, while sticking to a balance of six glasses per week – nothing more, nothing less – could be beneficial for your health.
The research was gathered by analysing data on 9,087 British civil servants aged between 35 and 55. The findings suggested that 23 years later, 397 individuals who took part in the study had developed dementia at an average age of 76.
Author of the study, Dr Severine Sabia, explained: ‘Given the number of people living with dementia is expected to triple by 2050 and the absence of a cure, prevention is key. We show that both long-term alcohol abstinence and excessive alcohol consumption may increase the risk of dementia.’
Nevertheless, Dr Sara Imarisio, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, admitted that other factors need to be considered in future studies before achieving a crystal clear result, telling The Independent: ‘People who completely abstain from alcohol may have a history of heavy drinking and this can make it difficult to interpret the links between drinking and health. Future research will need to examine drinking habits across a whole lifetime, and this will help to shed more light on the relationship between alcohol and dementia.’
The NHS advises men and women not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week. This is equivalent to six pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.