Men who drink excessively when they are middle-aged may be at increased risk of develop cognitive diseases in later life, suggests a new study.
Researchers at University College London examined 7,153 officers for a period of 20 years and found that those who consumed large amounts of alcohol suffered from memory loss faster than non-drinkers and moderate drinkers.
Published in the journal Neurology, the study involved 5,054 men and 2,099 women aged between 44 and 69 years working in Whitehall during the 1980s
In the course of a decade , participants about their alcohol consumption was asked three times before having to take part in a series of memory tests.
They were assessed again after a period of five to ten years.
Men who drank more than 4.5 units of alcohol each day were found to have the most rapid decline in cognitive ability, but no changes were found in women regardless of the amount consumed.
Dr Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said the study could serve as a reason for people to adhere to any New Year’s resolution you made about drinking less .
“Observational studies like this may be important to identify factors that may influence the risk of memory impairment or disease, but it is difficult to determine the cause and effect with this type of research, “he added.
“The people in this study did not have dementia, memory loss, but may be a precursor of dementia and understanding of the risk factors for this decrease could be important to prevent the disease.”
Dr. Ridley went on to say that research on ways the brain can stay healthy is vital and requires continuous investment.
Previous studies have suggested that the risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease can be significantly reduced by consuming a healthy and balanced diet and exercise regularly.
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