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.

 

 

 

 

The relationship between alcohol consumption and dementia risk is unclear. This investigation estimates the association between alcohol consumption reported in a population-based study in the mid-1980s and the risk for dementia up to 27 years later. The entire adult population in one Norwegian county was invited to the Nord-Trondelag Health Study during 1984-1986 (HUNT1): 88 % participated. The sample used in this study includes HUNT1 participants born between 1905 and 1946 who completed the questionnaire assessing alcohol consumption. A total of 40,435 individuals, of whom 1084 have developed dementia, are included in the analysis adjusted for age, sex, years of education, hypertension, obesity, smoking, and symptoms of depression. When adjusting for age and sex, and compared to reporting consumption of…
BACKGROUND: Midlife alcohol consumption (beer, wine, and spirits) was examined in relation to dementia incidence over 43 years. METHODS: Participants were 12,326 members of the population-based Swedish Twin Registry born during 1907-1925 who responded to items about alcohol consumption in 1967/1970, subsequently classified as nondrinking (0 grams of ethanol per day), light (1-5g/d), moderate (5-12g/d), heavy (12-24g/d), and very heavy (>24g/d) drinking. Dementia was identified from the National Patient and Cause of Death Registries. Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for cluster-correlated data were used in cohort analyses. Conditional logistic regression (dementia-discordant pairs) and mixed effects models (dementia-concordant pairs) were used in twin analyses. RESULTS: Overall, nondrinkers did not differ from light drinkers in dementia risk. Heavy drinking (hazard ratio =…
BACKGROUND: Studies of older persons show consumption of light-to-moderate amounts of alcohol is positively associated with cognitive function and, separately, is negatively associated with total brain volume (TBV). This is paradoxical as generally, cognitive function is positively associated with TBV. We examined the relationships of TBV, global cognitive function (GCF), and alcohol consumption in a population-based cohort of 3,363 men and women (b. 1907-1935) participating in the Age Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study (2002-2006) and who were free of dementia or mild cognitive impairment METHODS: Drinking status (never, former, and current) and current amount of alcohol consumed were assessed by questionnaire. GCF is a composite score derived from a battery of cognitive tests. TBV, standardized to head size, is estimated quantitatively from…
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether alcohol consumption is causally associated with cognitive impairment in older men as predicted by mendelian randomization. METHODS: Retrospective analysis of a cohort study of 3,542 community-dwelling men aged 65 to 83 years followed for 6 years. Cognitive impairment was established by a Mini-Mental State Examination score of 23 or less. Participants provided detailed information about their use of alcohol during the preceding year and were classified as abstainers, occasional drinkers, and regular drinkers: mild (/=35 drinks/wk). We genotyped the rs1229984 G-->A variant of the alcohol dehydrogenase 1B (ADH1B) gene, which is associated with lowerprevalence of alcohol abuse and dependence. Other measures included age, education, marital status, smoking and physical activity, body mass index, diabetes, hypertension, and…
BACKGROUND: This study investigated gender differences in the relationship between alcohol consumption and cognitive impairment among older adults in South Korea. METHODS: Using data from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Ageing, 2,471 females and 1,657 males were analyzed separately. Cognitive impairment was measured based on the Korean version of the Mini-Mental State Exam score. Logistic regression was conducted to examine the relationship between alcohol consumption and cognitive impairment among Korean older adults. RESULTS: Multivariate analysis showed that compared to moderate drinkers, past drinkers were more likely to be cognitively impaired for women, while heavy drinkers were more likely to be cognitively impaired for men. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that the relationship between alcohol consumption and cognition varies with gender. Clinicians and…
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