Alcohol-Use Disorder Is A Significant Risk Factor For Dementia, A New Study Warns


A new study finds that alcohol-use disorders and chronic heavy drinking would likely have a higher risk of developing onset of all types of dementia, particularly early-onset dementia.

The study published in The Lancet Public Health journal examined the effect of alcohol use disorders and people who had mental and behavioral disorders or chronic diseases linked to the constant use of alcohol. The alcohol-use disorder involves the chronic use of alcohol or alcohol dependence.

Dr. Michael Schwarzinger, the lead author of the study and a researcher at the Transitional Health Economics Network in Paris, noted that it surprised him that alcohol-use disorders had received so little interest in dementia research and public health policies, as pointed out by CNN.

In the study, the researchers evaluated the data of over one million people with dementia between 2008 and 20013 from the database of the French National Hospital Discharge. They found that of the 57,000 cases of early-onset dementia, the majority or 57 percent were linked to chronic heavy drinking, according to Medical Xpress.

They discovered that 16.5 percent of the men and four percent of the women with dementia were involved in alcohol-use disorders. This find was more than twice as much for those without dementia for both sexes. The results also showed that alcohol-use disorders would likely have three times greater risk of all types of dementia, according to The Guardian.

Dr. Jurgen Rehm, the co-author of the study and Director of the CAMH Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, said that the findings suggest that alcohol-use disorders and heavy drinking are the most critical risk factors for dementia. This find mainly refers to those types of dementia which start before age 65 and lead to premature deaths. He further said that alcohol-induced brain damage and dementia are preventable and known-effective preventive and policy measures could make a dent in premature dementia deaths. Other risk factors for dementia onset include tobacco smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, lower education, hearing loss, and depression.