Dementia: ‘Moderate’ beer consumption may ‘reduce’ your risk of brain decline, says expert

Frontotemporal dementia symptoms include 'changes in personality'

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Dementia is the injury that follows a build-up of toxic protein in the brain, which thwarts communication between brain cells. There is evidence that some preventive measures can prevent the accumulation of toxins in the brain. One alcoholic beverage, according to an expert, may confer some protection against the disease.

Doctor Quinton Fivelman, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at London Medical Laboratory, argues that some benefits may be gained from drinking beer in moderation.

“[…] Moderate beer consumption is associated with an increase in bone density, cardiovascular and immunological benefits, and is also associated with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.”

This claim is supported by research published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, in 2016, which assessed the effects of moderate beer consumption on the risk of various diseases.

The study revealed compelling data to show that the moderate consumption of beer has a number of beneficial health effects.

“Perhaps most interestingly, moderate alcohol consumption in healthy adults and in cardiovascular patients protects against ‘total mortality’,” added Doctor Quinton.

“In other words, the risk of death from all causes is reduced for moderate drinkers of all alcohol (including beer) compared to abstainers or heavy drinkers.”

In an early body of research published in the journal Age and Ageing, researchers explored the relationship between alcohol and dementia in depth.

The study, of 3,000 Germans aged 75 and older, found those who drank two to three drinks a day decreased their risk of dementia by as much as 60 percent, compared to those who abstained.

These findings hold value in light of new research highlighting a higher prevalence of alcohol dependence in older patients with the disease.

The study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease suggested that late-onset alcohol abuse after the age of 40 could be symptomatic of brain decline.

Results from an analysis of 1,519 patients revealed 2.2 percent of subjects suffered from late-onset alcohol abuse.

In the journal of Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, researchers wrote: “Olfactory dysfunction is an early symptom of dementia and has a relatively high prevalence in various types of dementia, reaching up to 100 percent in Alzheimer’s disease, 90 percent in Parkinson’s disease dementia, 96 percent in frontotemporal dementia and 15 percent in vascular dementia.

There is uncertainty, however, around the causes of alcohol dependence in dementia patients.

It is known that olfactory changes can signal the development of cognitive deterioration.

Whether olfactory changes are implicated in the heightened desire to drink, however, remains unclear.

In one report published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, researchers wrote: “Alcohol beverages provoke massive ortho-nasal and retro-nasal stimulations which constitute strong appetitive cues and might be involved in the arisen of alcohol dependence as they rapidly lead to conditioned alcohol-seeking behaviours.

“Olfactory stimulations elicit strong drinking desires, this olfactory craving being even stronger than those provoked by visual-auditory cues.”

Olfactory stimulation is defined as the excitation of receptors in the nasal cavity by inhaled odourants, which are in the nasal mucus.

These preliminary results suggest that olfactory cues might play a role in the appearance of alcohol dependence, but further studies are needed to explore their role at different stages of dependence.

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