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Monday, October 26, 2015

UK report suggests greater link between alcohol use and dementia risk



The week before Halloween in 2015 came with a scary report on the link between alcohol use and dementia. The U.K.'s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) advises that for middle-aged people – ages 40-64 – there is "no safe level of alcohol consumption" as it relates to the risk of developing dementia. Even moderate alcohol use increases the risk. (share the YouTube video or check out the transcript )

The longer people live, the greater the possibility of getting dementia. By age 80, one in every six people have developed this disease. Alcohol use influences the risk you'll be the one of six, and/or that you'll get this incurable disease before you're 80. Dementia includes problem with language, impaired cognitive function or memory loss, and spatial awareness functions. In dementia, the hippocampus (a small pair of structures at the center of the human hard drive) is one of the first regions of the brain to suffer damage.

Dementia treatment does exist, but prevention is a vastly easier way of addressing any disease, including the diseases of alcoholism and dementia. According to the NICE studies, dementia risk is lower when you cut out alcohol consumption and maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and not smoking. This doesn't give a green light to drinking before age 40. An earlier Sobriety :60+ showed the risk for men developing early-onset dementia, and there's enough evidence-based research demonstrating lasting brain damage from regular alcohol use and binge drinking. Alcohol alters brain structure at the cellular level. Even in casual drinkers, the hippocampus is still affected by the toxins in alcohol. This is what causes you to forget — either temporarily or permanently — certain memories.

If all recreational drugs were vehicles, alcohol would be a freight train. Does hopping onto the drinking train before or after age 40 guarantee you'll get hit by the dementia train, no. Just like drinking alcohol, the known carcinogen, doesn't guarantee you'll get hit by the cancer train. But it does put you on the tracks.

Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens.  Host Ed Forteau led a discussion on risky myths of about "healthy" drinking.  Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature on Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore."  Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud also can be fou.nd on www.alcohologist.com, plus the NEW book, Adding Fire to the Fuel, is now available. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today