Dementia

Cognitive function is an intellectual process by which we become aware of, perceive, or comprehend ideas. It involves all aspects of perception, thinking, reasoning, and remembering.Infanthood and early childhood are the periods in life where most individuals are able to absorb and use new information the best. The capacity to learn normally slows down with age, but the overall cognitive function should not decline on a large scale in healthy individuals. Cognitive dysfunction is defined as an unusually poor mental function associated with confusion, forgetfulness and difficulty to concentrate. Factors such as ageing and disease may affect cognitive function over time. Growing evidence supports the role of vascular disease and vascular risk factors in cognitive decline, Alzheimer's Disease and dementia.

 

Dementia is a form of cognitive impairment where an individual loses the ability to think, remember and reason due to physical changes in the brain. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a form of dementia. AD and other types of dementia are most common in the elderly, and are associated with huge health costs. With a rapidly aging population throughout the world, factors that affect the risk of cognitive decline and dementia are of great importance. Recently, insulin resistance and hyperinsulineamia, the precursors of type 2 diabetes have been linked to an increased risk of cognitive impairment.

 

The moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages has consistently been associated with a decreased cardiovascular risk, so it may be hypothesized that this cardiovascular protection could also decrease vascular dementia and cognitive decline because alcohol might improve blood flow in the brain and prevent the deposit of plaques . Even though chronic abuse of alcoholic beverages can cause progressive neurodegenerative disease, many studies have suggested that a moderate intake is associated with a lower risk of dementia or cognitive impairment.

 

At present, there are no proven pharmaceutical drugs and therapies to prevent or treat cognitive decline or dementia, although a number of prospective epidemiologic studies have shown a lower risk of such conditions among light to moderate drinkers of wine and other alcoholic beverages in comparison with non-drinkers.  When the effect of different alcoholic beverages was examined, the results indicated that only moderate wine consumption was independently associated with better performance on all cognitive tests in both men and women. 

In the literature, there are many mechanisms proposed to explain these results. Wine may affect the risk factors for ischemic processes and stroke positively. It has been suggested that the antioxidant properties of the phenolic compounds in wine may help to prevent the oxidative damage implicated in dementia. Oxidative stress is thought to be involved in Alzheimer’s Disease by the formation of amyloid-ß protein and DNA damage in neurons in the brain. Resveratrol with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects may also play a role.  In addition, alcohol increases the levels of HDL cholesterol and fibrinolytic factors resulting in a lower platelet aggregation. Furthermore, moderate consumption of wine and other alcoholic beverages enhances insulin sensitivity and consequently, may improve the memory function in subjects with early AD or mild cognitive impairment.

 

It is also possible that the beneficial effects of moderate drinking noted in studies might just be a marker for an overall healthy lifestyle. The Mediterranean diet with whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, olive oil and moderate red wine also reduces the risk of dementia, as does exercise, social engagement, mental activities and an optimistic outlook on life.

 

Experimental animal studies indicated that the phenolic compounds in wine were able to prevent the formation of plaques that are associated with the development of AD and other forms of dementia.

 

The above summary provides an overview of the topic, for more details and specific questions, please refer to the articles in the database.

 

 

 

 

Importance: Evidence on alcohol consumption as a risk factor for dementia usually relates to overall consumption. The role of alcohol-induced loss of consciousness is uncertain. Objective: To examine the risk of future dementia associated with overall alcohol consumption and alcohol-induced loss of consciousness in a population of current drinkers. Design, Setting, and Participants: Seven cohort studies from the UK, France, Sweden, and Finland (IPD-Work consortium) including 131415 participants were examined. At baseline (1986-2012), participants were aged 18 to 77 years, reported alcohol consumption, and were free of diagnosed dementia. Dementia was examined during a mean follow-up of 14.4 years (range, 12.3-30.1). Data analysis was conducted from November 17, 2019, to May 23, 2020. Exposures: Self-reported overall consumption and loss of…
BACKGROUND: An emerging body of literature has indicated that moderate alcohol intake may be protective against Alzheimer disease (AD) dementia. However, little information is available regarding whether moderate alcohol intake is related to reductions in amyloid-beta (Abeta) deposition, or is protective via amyloid-independent mechanisms in the living human brain. Here we examined the associations of moderate alcohol intake with in vivo AD pathologies, including cerebral Abeta deposition, neurodegeneration of AD-signature regions, and cerebral white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) in the living human brain. METHODS AND FINDINGS: The present study was part of the Korean Brain Aging Study for Early Diagnosis and Prediction of Alzheimer's Disease (KBASE), an ongoing prospective cohort study that started in 2014. As of November 2016, 414 community-dwelling…
Background: Dementia is a globally increasing health issue and since no cure is currently available, prevention is crucial. The consumption of alcohol is a controversially discussed risk factor for dementia. While many previously published epidemiological studies reported a risk reduction by light to moderate alcohol consumption, there is no persuasive model of an underlying biochemical mechanism. The purpose of this article is to review current models on alcohol neurotoxicity and dementia and to analyze and compare studies focusing on the epidemiological link between alcohol consumption and the risk of dementia. Methods: The electronic database Pubmed was searched for studies published between 1994 and 2019 concerning the topic. Results: Available epidemiological studies are not sufficient to verify a protective effect of…
Coffee, wine and chocolate are three frequently consumed substances with a significant impact on cognition. In order to define the structural and cerebral blood flow correlates of self-reported consumption of coffee, wine and chocolate in old age, we assessed cognition and brain MRI measures in 145 community-based elderly individuals with preserved cognition (69 to 86 years). Based on two neuropsychological assessments during a 3-year follow-up, individuals were classified into stable-stable (52 sCON), intermediate (61 iCON) and deteriorating-deteriorating (32 dCON). MR imaging included voxel-based morphometry (VBM), tract-based spatial statistics (TBSS) and arterial spin labelling (ASL). Concerning behavior, moderate consumption of caffeine was related to better cognitive outcome. In contrast, increased consumption of wine was related to an unfavorable cognitive evolution. Concerning…
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