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Mental Decline Linked To Excess Alcohol Intake, Study

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Chronic heavy drinking is a major risk factor for all types of dementia, especially early onset of the disease (Dementia, a disease that affect More than 100 thousand people per year in Nigeria), according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

Mental Decline Linked To Excess Alcohol Intake, Study
“chronic heavy drinking” drinking more than six or more standard drinks – a day for men, and in excess of 4 standard drinks per day for women – WHO

Researchers examining more than 57,000 cases of early-onset dementia in France found that well over half were either alcohol-related, or accompanied by an additional diagnosis of alcohol abuse.

Some studies have shown a possible benefit of light-to-moderate drinking, while others have found that heavy drinking boosts the risk of dementia.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines “chronic heavy drinking” as more than 60 grammes of pure alcohol – six or more standard drinks – a day for men, and in excess of 40 grammes per day for women.

For the new study, researchers combed through medical records of more than one million adults in France diagnosed with dementia from 2008 to 2013.

The link with alcohol was statistically unmistakable, leading the authors to suggest screening, brief interventions for heavy drinking, and alcoholism treatment to help reduce cognitive decline.

Symptoms Of Dementia

  • Cognitive: memory loss, mental decline, confusion in the evening hours, disorientation, inability to speak or understand language, making things up, mental confusion, or inability to recognise common thing.
  • Behavioural: irritability, personality changes, restlessness, lack of restraint, or wandering and getting lost
  • Mood: anxiety, loneliness, mood swings, or nervousness
  • Psychological: depression, hallucination, or paranoia
  • Muscular: inability to combine muscle movements or unsteady walking
  • Also common: falling, jumbled speech, or sleep disorder.
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“The link between dementia and alcohol use disorders … is likely a result of alcohol leading to permanent structural and functional brain damage,” said lead author Michael Schwarzinger, a scientist at the Translational Health Economics Network in Paris.

Alcohol use disorders are also associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and heart failure, which may in turn increase the risk of vascular dementia, he said in a statement.

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