People who drink wine occasionally may reduce their risk of developing dementia, according to new research from Denmark.
The scientists from the Danish Epidemiology Science Centre at the Institute of Preventive Medicine and the Centre for Alcohol Research at the National Institute of Public Health in Copenhagen, Denmark report this month that people who drank wine weekly or monthly were significantly less likely to develop dementia.
Alcohol has previously been linked to a reduction in the risk of dementia. The researchers set out to assess whether the amount or type of alcohol affected the risk of dementia.
They carried out a study based on participants in the third Copenhagen City Heart Study (1991 -1994), who were aged 65 years or more. The participants were screened using the Mini-Mental State Examination and subsequently examined for dementia. There were 83 subjects diagnosed with dementia and the remaining 1,626 non-demented subjects were included as controls. Both groups were compared with regard to alcohol intake and type of alcohol, assessed 15 years before.
The team found that average weekly total alcohol intake had no significant effect on risk of dementia. However the intake of wine, on a monthly or weekly basis, was significantly associated with a lower risk of dementia. And a monthly intake of beer was significantly associated with an increased risk of dementia. They noted that the results did not vary between men and women.
The authors concluded: "Monthly and weekly intake of wine is associated with a lower risk of dementia," adding a cautionary statement, "The results do not indicate that people should start drinking or increase wine consumption to avoid dementia, but instead suggest that certain substances in wine may reduce the occurrence of dementia."