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: Studies examining the association of low to moderate drinking with various cognitive functions have yielded mixed findings. OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether associations exist between low to moderate alcohol drinking and cognitive function trajectories or rates of change in cognitive function from middle age to older age among US adults. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A prospective cohort study of participants drawn from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a nationally representative sample of US adults, with mean (SD) follow-up of 9.1 (3.1) years. In total, 19887 participants who had their cognitive functions measured in the HRS starting in 1996 through 2008 and who had participated in at least 3 biennial surveys were included. The data analysis was conducted from June…
Although heavy alcohol consumption has been identified as a risk factor for adverse cognitive functioning, it currently remains unclear whether moderate alcohol consumption exerts similar effects. Observational studies previously reported the potential benefits of moderate alcohol consumption on cognition, particularly in the elderly; however, these effects have not yet been demonstrated in Asian populations. The aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between alcohol consumption levels and global and domain-specific cognitive functions in cognitively intact elderly Japanese men. Cross-sectional data from the Shiga Epidemiological Study of Subclinical Atherosclerosis (SESSA), an ongoing prospective, population-based study in Shiga, Japan, were used to examine the relationship between alcohol consumption and cognitive function. Men (n = 585) aged >/=65 years provided…
BACKGROUND: Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most threatening neurodegenerative disease, is characterized by the loss of memory and language function, an unbalanced perception of space, and other cognitive and physical manifestations. The pathology of AD is characterized by neuronal loss and the extensive distribution of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). The role of environment and the diet in AD is being actively studied, and nutrition is one of the main factors playing a prominent role in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. In this context, the relationship between dementia and wine use/abuse has received increased research interest, with varying and often conflicting results. Scope and Approach: With this review, we aimed to critically summarize the main relevant studies to clarify the…
BACKGROUND: Understanding the long-term health effects of low to moderate alcohol consumption is important for establishing thresholds for minimising the lifetime risk of harm. Recent research has elucidated the dose-response relationship between alcohol and cardiovascular outcomes, showing an increased risk of harm at levels of intake previously thought to be protective. The primary objective of this review was to examine (1) whether there is a dose-response relationship between levels of alcohol consumption and long-term cognitive effects, and (2) what the effects are of different levels of consumption. METHODS: The review was conducted according to a pre-specified protocol. Eligible studies were those published 2007 onwards that compared cognitive function among people with different levels of alcohol consumption (measured >/= 6 months…
With an increase in life expectancy, the incidence of chronic degenerative pathologies such as dementia has progressively risen. Cognitive impairment leads to the gradual loss of skills, which results in substantial personal and financial cost at the individual and societal levels. Grapes and wines are rich in healthy compounds, which may help to maintain homeostasis and reduce the risk of several chronic illnesses, including dementia. This review analyzed papers that were systematically searched in PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase, and CAB-Abstract, using the association between grapes (or their derivatives) and their effects on cognitive functions in humans. Analysis was restricted to epidemiological and randomized-controlled studies. Consumption of grape juice (200-500 mL/day) and/or light-to-moderate wine (one to four glasses/day) was generally associated with…
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