Moderate Alcohol Drinking Is Associated With Nearly 40% Lower Risk of Dementia

A study was conducted with 3,069 community-living adults aged 75 years and older without dementia who were enrolled in the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study (GEMS), an NIH-sponsored research project. At the beginning of the study, 2,587 of the participants were assessed to be cognitively normal and 482 had mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Participants were examined every six months for up to six years for changes in their memory or thinking abilities.

After adjustment for demographics, smoking, co-morbidities, depression, social activity, and baseline cognition, moderate alcohol intake (1-2 drinks per day) of beer, wine or distilled spirits was associated with a 37% lower risk of dementia in participants with normal cognition at the beginning of the study, but not in those who had begun with mild cognitive impairment.

Head researcher was Dr. Kaycee Sink of Wake University School of Medicine. "Our findings suggest mild to moderate alcohol intake may reduce the risk of dementia," Dr. Sink said. "However, this does not appear to be true for those who already have mild cognitive impairment."

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  • Sink, K., et al. Moderate Alcohol Intake Is Associated With Nearly 40% Lower Risk of Dementia. Paper presented at Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease. Vienna, Austria, July, 2009. (


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