Consider this Harvard finding before you toast the New Year

News briefs

Published: January, 2020

We've reported before that heavy drinking is tied to an increased risk for developing dementia. A Harvard-led study published online Sept. 27, 2019, by JAMA Network Open suggests that the risk is even worse if you have mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Researchers analyzed the data of more than 3,000 dementia-free adults (average age 78, some with MCI) who reported their alcohol use and underwent psychological testing for six years. People with MCI who drank heavily (more than 14 drinks per week) had a 72% higher risk for dementia than people who drank less than one drink per week. However, people without MCI who drank moderately (seven to 14 drinks per week) didn't appear to have an increased risk for dementia, and even seemed to have a 37% lower risk for dementia compared with people who consumed less than one drink per week. The bottom line: "Our results suggest that moderation is the healthiest approach if you drink. And if you have mild cognitive impairment, you may want to reconsider drinking alcohol at all," says Dr. Kenneth Mukamal, a study author and researcher with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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