A NEW STUDY has shown that not drinking alcohol in middle age could increase the risk of developing dementia.
The long-term study by the British Medical Journal has found that people who abstained from alcohol and those who drank more than the recommended limits had a heightened risk of developing the disease in later life.
The conductors of the study tracked the drinking habits of 9,000 civil servants, who were between the ages 35 and 55, for eight years.
The subjects were then monitored for a further 23 years after which nearly 400 cases of dementia were identified.
Those who didn’t drink in middle age were found to have a 45% higher risk of dementia.
The researchers acknowledged that the underlying mechanisms leading to dementia for excessive drinkers and those abstaining were likely to be different.
Dr Sara Imarisio, head of research at Alzheimer’s Reearch UK, said that the study failed to take into account the persons drinking habits earlier in life.
She said: “People who completely abstain from alcohol may have a history of heavy drinking and this can make it difficult to interpret the links between drinking and health.
“Future research will need to examine drinking habits across a whole lifetime, and this well help to shed more light on the relationship between alcohol and dementia.”