Glass of red wine a day 'cuts risk of dementia'

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A couple of glasses of red wine a day can lower the chances of senile dementia in later life but drinking beer increases the risk, a long-term study suggests. While regular but moderate wine drinkers were half as likely as non-drinkers to suffer from degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer's, the risk for beer drinkers doubled.

A couple of glasses of red wine a day can lower the chances of senile dementia in later life but drinking beer increases the risk, a long-term study suggests. While regular but moderate wine drinkers were half as likely as non-drinkers to suffer from degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer's, the risk for beer drinkers doubled.

Scientists analysed the drinking patterns of 1,709 inhabitants of Copenhagen during the 1970s and compared their drink preferences with the occurrence of dementia in the same group more than 20 years later when they were 65 or older. During that period, the journal Neurology reports, 83 of the participants had developed senile dementia. Their alcohol intake and preferences were compared with those of their contemporaries who had remained mentally alert.

Thomas Truelsen, of the Danish Institute of Preventive Medicine in Copenhagen, said: "It looks like red wine is the one with the best effect but it only works when there is moderate intake, between about one and three glasses a day.

"The results are exciting because they could mean that substances in wine reduce the occurrence of dementia ... we could potentially develop treatments or prevention methods based on these substances."

One theory is that flavanoids, which occur naturally in the skin of red grapes, could be involved in protecting brain tissue against deterioration or blood vessels against strokes.

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