A study was recently published in Neurology, the journal of theAmericanAcademy of Neurology whose purpose was to test a hypothesis that favonoids; natural compounds that help counteract aging damage to blood vessels, might be responsible for the beneficial effect of modest wine consumption. Red wine is high in flavonoids, so a comparison of this compared to other sources of alcohol as well as no alcohol was tested.
In the study, the researchers looked at wine, beer, and liquor consumption among 1,709 middle-agedCopenhagenresidents. Then, about 25 years later when the participants were all 65 or older, they assessed the patients for dementia. 83 patients had developed dementia. Their alcohol intake was compared with participants who had not developed such brain afflictions.
The study concluded that people who drink wine weekly or monthly appear to have a lower risk of developing dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Other studies have also suggested that the flavoniods found in high concentration in red wine also may be responsible for reduced rates of stroke and heart disease among wine drinkers.
When assessing each patient and comparing their alcohol intake to the participants who had developed dementia, researchers also found the following:
- Occasional wine drinkers were 2x less likely to develop dementia than people who drank no wine at all
- Daily wine drinking compared to occasional wine drinking showed no particular benefit
- Occasional beer drinking is actually a risk factor for developing brain afflictions
- Evidence would be even stronger if the researchers would have compared their patients’ eating habits as well as their alcohol consumption
THE EXCITING PART
“These results don’t mean that people should start drinking wine or drink more wine than they usually do, but they are exciting because they could mean that the substances in wine (flavonoids) reduce the occurrence of dementia,” said Dr. Thomas Truelson, the study’s lead author and researcher.
“If that’s the case, we could potentially develop treatments or prevention methods based on these substances” he said. Studies are continuing to be done in regards to this topic, and hopefully progress will be made in extracting the flavonoids and developing a natural treatment for dementia.
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