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Drank en dementie

De geleerden zijn het er weer eens niet over eens. Is ‘matig’ drinken nu wel of juist geen aanjager voor dementie? Kort geleden verscheen als conclusie uit de zoveelste studie dat het risico op Alzheimer of andere vormen van dementie juist werd beperkt bij bescheiden wijngebruik. Nu wordt ons weer voorgehouden dat zelfs ‘moderate drinking’, zoals in wijncampagnes tegen fysieke schade wordt bepleit, een risico op hersenschade ‘kan’ inhouden. In Lancet Public Health Journal zijn de resultaten van een pas verschenen uitgebreide studie naar het verband tussen excessief drankgebruik (met ziekenhuisopname) en Alzheimer verschenen. Wie buitensporig drinkt verhoogt het risico op dementie. Iedereen wist het al, maar het is nu nog eens bevestigd. Zoals iedereen ook al lang weet dat hevig drinken nog andere fysiek en geestelijk aftakelende gevolgen heeft. Zoals het afsterven van hersencellen en hartfalen. Hier een samenvatting van het zoveelste onderzoek:

“Heavy drinkers are putting themselves at risk of dementia, according to the largest study of its kind ever conducted.

Research published in the Lancet Public Health journal provides powerful evidence that people who drink enough to end up in hospital are putting themselves at serious risk of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It will also raise questions for moderate drinkers about the possible long-term consequences of their social habit.

The study, which used the French National Hospital Discharge database, looked at more than a million people diagnosed with dementia between 2008 and 2013.

More than a third – 38% of the 57,000 cases of early-onset dementia – were directly alcohol-related and 18% had an additional diagnosis of alcohol use disorders. Overall, alcohol use disorders were associated with a three times greater risk of all types of dementia.

Dr Sara Imarisio, head of research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “As this study only looked at the people who had been admitted to hospital due to chronic heavy drinking, it doesn’t reveal the full extent of the link between alcohol use and dementia risk. Previous research has indicated that even moderate drinking may have a negative impact on brain health and people shouldn’t be under the impression that only drinking to the point of hospitalisation carries a risk.”


Experts said the new research should change attitudes. “What is most surprising about this paper is that it has taken us so long to recognise that alcohol misuse and dependence are such potent risk factors for the development of dementia,” said Robert Howard, professor of old age psychiatry at University College London.

“We have long known that alcohol is directly neurotoxic, thiamine deficiency in alcoholics devastates memory, alcohol-related conditions such as cirrhosis and epilepsy can damage the brain and that vascular brain damage is accelerated by alcohol. Surprisingly, we’ve not traditionally considered alcohol and its misuse as an important risk factor for dementia and we were clearly wrong not to have done so.”
Even moderate drinking can damage the brain, claim researcher

The study was not set up to look at the effects of moderate drinking on people’s dementia risk. But the lead author, Dr Michaël Schwarzinger of the Translational Health Economics Network in France, warned that the research showed damage done to the brain by alcohol is never repaired. Heavy drinkers who had given up alcohol for a time did not reduce their dementia risk, even though they were less likely to die early. “It is very striking that for people who were heavy drinkers and had at least a period of abstinence, the level of risk of dementia is about the same,” he told the Guardian.

That is in line with imaging studies that have shown even moderate drinking has a permanent effect. A study published in the British Medical Journal last year found that those who drank 14-21 units a week had three times the normal odds of damage to that part of the brain concerned with memory. Guidance in the UK is not to drink more than 14 units a week”.

(Bron: The Guardian)