Named the risk of failure from alcohol

The research found that those drinking up to four and a half bottles of wine a week were at lower risk of developing the disease than those who abstained

The research found that those drinking up to four and a half bottles of wine a week were at lower risk of developing the disease than those who abstained

Moreover, the study showed that "excess risk of dementia in abstainers was attributable to the greater risk of cardiometabolic disease" for middle-aged non-drinkers.

Perhaps the most important contribution of the recently published research, however, was the discovery that doing the exact opposite of excessive drinking - abstinence from alcohol consumption in middle-age - is a factor for developing the illness as well.

With people who drank more than 14 units a week the dementia risk increased by 17% with every additional seven units per week.

Current government guidelines recommend a maximum of 14 units of alcohol a week for men and women, the same as six pints of beer or just under one and a half bottles of wine.

The average age of participants was 50.

As laid out by their National Alcohol Diary Survey (2014), 54% of 18 to 75-year-old drinkers were classified as "harmful drinkers", equating to 1.35 million harmful drinkers in Ireland.

"These results suggest that abstention and excessive alcohol consumption are associated with an increased risk of dementia, although the underlying mechanisms are likely to be different in the two groups", the authors wrote. Moderate alcohol drinkers, meanwhile, have been known to have reduced cholesterol and blood pressure levels, which may protect them from dementia.

Giving up alcohol in middle age may increase your risk of getting dementia, according to a new study. During this time dementia was diagnosed in 397 participants.

Dr. Sara Imarisio, from Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "A healthy lifestyle, including cutting down on too much alcohol, can improve health and reduce dementia risk".

The long-term study - which tracked the health of civil servants working in London - found that both groups of people who drank over the recommended limits and also those who have abstained from alcohol entirely were at an increased risk of contracting the disease.

However, the researchers said that this is an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, and they cannot rule out the possibility that some of the risk may be due to unmeasured factors. "This study backs what we know, and the temperance movement refuse to accept - that the J shaped curve between alcohol consumption and life expectancy is real".

The boffins say teetotallers should not see the findings as an excuse to drink - because there are many other risks associated with alcohol.

The authors say while the study is important to fill gaps in knowledge, "we should remain cautious and not change current recommendations on alcohol use based exclusively on epidemiological studies".

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