Just one drink a day will keep you away from Dementia- latest finding

By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer

This would be the best news that most middle-aged people would want to hear, yes, it is true the latest studies reveal. Just drinking one glass of wine a day, lowers the risk of your developing dementia later in life, the researchers have come to that conclusion.

This study was done on 9,000 British adults for a period of twenty years. This study also revealed that the teetotallers and heavy drinkers have a high incidence of dementia. Just one drink means 14 “units” of alcohol per week, that is a medium-sized glass of wine or one pint of beer, each day.

No wonder, those adults working hard during office hours and patronizing the pub, drinking just a pint of beer and going home and greeting their love one, would keep their brain stimulated, then the guy who goes home tired after work going straight to bed after a quick dinner.

Studies showed that people who were non-drinkers in middle age were 47 percent more likely to eventually be diagnosed as having dementia, against those ‘one drinkers’, the findings revealed.

The above studies also revealed that middle-aged people who drank more than a glass per day their risk of dementia increased in proportion with their alcohol intake. It was also shown that more than one glass drinkers the dementia risk rose by 17 percent with every additional 7 units of alcohol (3-4 glasses of wine per day) they drank per week.

DR. Sevil Yasar, an associate professor of medicine at John Hopkins University, Baltimore, had no answer when asked why non-drinkers should have a high risk of dementia compared to those who drink a glass a day.

It is possible that the lifestyles of those who drink, and non-drinkers differ, and the brain cells gets the opportunity to unwind and relax which may be a good reason for daily activation of those cells to prevent dementia later in life.

Researchers also have found that moderate drinkers are less likely to get heart attacks than are abstainers. Therefore, the alcohol in wine might be a factor in the French paradox. It appears that the same factors that raise the risk of heart disease may also increase the risk of dementia

It is possible, that unwinding at the end of the day with one alcoholic drink may relax the brain cells, cardiovascular system and other organs to have that beneficial effect on the body to prevent dementia and heart attacks.

It is likely that the brain cells are harmed and accelerate the damage rates of the brain cells among heavy drinkers and that may be a cause for dementia later in life. Brain cells do not die as we age, a new finding. There seems to be widespread conservation of brain cells as we age, and the neurones don’t seem to die, but you lose neurons as you age.

Studies have shown that healthy men and women continue to produce new neurons throughout life, suggesting older people remain more cognitively and emotionally intact than previously believed. Just a drink of alcohol may be an adjuvant for this process.

It is also a myth that moderate drinking alcohol kills brain cells. Excessive drinking does damage brain cells but does not kill brain cells.

Though studies reveal that one drink a day keeps you out of dementia later in life, that does not mean that you should neglect other beneficial factors that keeps you healthy: good nutritious food, exercise, less stress, happy family relations are all important to keep your brain cells active and alive to prevent dementia.

The incidence of dementia among Sri Lankans was very low decades back. Most middle-aged people could afford to drink a glass of toddy daily, and the high doses of vitamin B1 and moderate amount of alcohol in a glass may have been responsible for such low incidence of dementia.

Today, there are hardly any toddy tappers and most middle-aged people cannot afford a glass of toddy, daily.

A study was done in the suburban region of Ragama among the Sinhalese speaking people by H.A.de Silva, S.B.Gunatilake and A.D.Smith, published 25 July 2003, and their conclusions were that compared with other community studies performed in North India suggests that dementia prevalence is higher in Sri Lanka, as much as 3.98%.

The incidence of dementia among the social groups in the more affluent regions in Sri Lanka are much less, compared to the rural suburbs. Lifestyle changes may be attributed to the lower incidence of dementia.

If your doctor does not allow you to drink moderately daily, change the doctor to one who enjoys a glass of wine, at the end of the day.

(Ref: Article written by Amy Norton-HealthDay Reporter, on healthy Aging)

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