Many people will be abstaining from the sauce this January – a dry January has become fashionable in recent years as people lay off the booze in an effort to un-do the damage done by excessive drinking at Christmas and to begin the New Year in a healthy way.

However, our attention was drawn to research that has proved a link between moderate (the key word here is ‘moderate’) drinking and a reduced risk of death in people with early stage Alzheimer’s.

Naturally, the article was of interest to us here at Finders International because we often work on cases where a person has died of Alzheimer’s and hasn’t left behind a valid will (and has no known next of kin).

1 Million People

It is a distressing condition for everyone involved – the person suffering from the disease and their nearest and dearest – and it is thought that by 2025, there will be 1 million people in the UK suffering from the condition.

The Danish Alzheimer’s Intervention Study, published by the journal BMJ Open, looked at data from some 321 people in their 70s who were living with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers wanted to investigate the association between alcohol consumption and mortality in those who had been recently diagnosed with the condition. The researchers recorded current daily alcohol consumption.

Evidence has already established a link between moderate alcohol consumption and a lower risk of strokes and heart disease.

“Significantly Lower Mortality”

The researchers found that in this particular group of patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease, moderate alcohol consumption (2-3 units a day) was associated with “significantly lower mortality” over a period of three years (a 77 percent reduced risk of death), but that further studies focusing on the association between alcohol consumption and cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s were needed.

Of the people who took part, 8 percent of them were abstainers and the units were measured as 15mls of pure alcohol (a UK unit is 10mls).

The Alzheimer’s Society’s director Dr Doug Brown said that the study should not be seen as a “green light” to drink more. Dr Brown said that other factors could come into play – such as people drinking in a social way, as social inter-action has been previously demonstrated to help people with the condition.

Warning Re Excess Consumption

The Society warns that alcohol consumption in excess has well documented negative effects on both your short-term and long-term health – and one of the effects is brain damage which can then lead to Alzheimer’s disease or other kinds of dementia. It adds that people who don’t currently drink alcohol shouldn’t start as a way of protecting themselves against Alzheimer’s.
Nonetheless, Dr Brown said the study was useful and that it could help identify social or medical factors that can help people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s live a longer life.