Dementia: Study shows positive effects of wine
The effects of dementia in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) can be delayed by drinking a daily glass of wine.
Italian researchers analysed nearly 1,450 people and found that those with MCI - a transitional phase between normal ageing and dementia - who had one drink of alcohol a day (mostly wine) developed dementia at an 85% slower rate than people with MCI who never drank alcohol.
However, higher levels of drinking were not deemed to have an advantageous effect on dementia progression.
Doctors Vincenzo Solfrizzi and Francesco Panza, from the department of geriatrics at the university of Bari, in Italy, commented on the study's findings, saying: "The mechanism responsible for why low alcohol consumption appears to protect against the progression to dementia isn't known." However, they added that the findings supported other observations that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol may protect the brain from stroke and vascular dementia.
This news came at the same time as the Alzheimer's Society commissioned a new research study into the link between diet and dementia. The aim of the review would be to answer questions relating to what aspects of diet can help to reduce the risk of developing the disease.
Experts believe eating healthily is the key to reducing risk and that the study will shed important light on Alzheimer's.
MCI is evident from mild memory or cognitive problems and no significant disability. While mild cognitive impairment can affect many areas of cognition - such as language, attention, reasoning, judgement, reading and writing - most research has focused on its effects on memory.
Another term that is occasionally used instead of MCI is 'early cognitive impairment'. There are many different reasons why people may have some mild problems with their memory.
Dementia is the gradual loss of mental abilities such as thinking, remembering and reasoning. It has a tendency to affect older people and becomes more common with age. About six in 100 of those over the age of 65 will develop some degree of dementia, increasing to about 20 in 100 of those over the age of 85.
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