Tuesday, August 16, 2011

When Is Enough Enough?

This morning a report is out showing moderate amount of alcoholic beverages might stave off Alzheimer’s and dementia. This is potentially good news to those who like a glass of wine with dinner or to have a beer with friends on the weekend.

Others studies have proven that those who drink too much are at greater risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Here we’re referring to alcoholics who drink (now or at an earlier stage of life) to excess on a regular basis.

What can be confusing is determining what amount of alcohol may carry benefits and what amount may carry risks.

The new Loyola Study suggests heavy drinkers consume 3-5 drinks per day, implying that those in the “safe zone” to actually improve their cognitive longevity imbibe 1-2 drinks per day at most. Though no solid rationale is given for why a little helps, the study suggests smaller amounts of alcohol have health benefits, including opening up blood vessels that allow more blood to flow to the brain.

The opposite effect from heavy drinkers is the result of the alcohol damaging brain cells and therefore raising the stakes for the person to develop dementia.

The Loyola University researchers also do not recommend non-drinkers take up alcohol to help stay mentally active. Instead, they should focus on a sound exercise and diet regime that also keeps the blood flowing and brain in good shape.

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