Chronic heavy drinking most important dementia risk factor

Alcohol use disorders are strongly related to risk of developing dementia, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

Researchers conducted a nationwide observational study of 1 million-plus adults diagnosed with dementia in France.

The study shows of the 57,000 cases of early-onset dementia, 57 percent were related to chronic heavy drinking. The results were split across gender lines as well. A majority of dementia patients were women, but 64.9 percent of all early-onset dementia patients were men.

Additionally, alcohol use disorders were associated with all the other independent risk factors for dementia, including tobacco smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, lower education, depression and hearing loss.

"The findings indicate that heavy drinking and alcohol use disorders are the most important risk factors for dementia, and especially important for those types of dementia which start before age 65, and which lead to premature deaths," said Jürgen Rehm, PhD, study co-author and director of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Institute for Mental Health Policy Research in Toronto, Canada.

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