There was an item in the “Raw Data” section of my newly arrived September issue of Playboy magazine (yes, I read the articles, too) about the moderate drinking of alcohol helping to stave off or slow the onset of dementia. Here it is in its entirety:
For people suffering from cognitive decline, having up to one drink a day over a three-year period may slow the development of full-blown dementia by 85%.
A drink a day, eh? Well, I’m certainly willing to give it a go in my golden years. How did I miss this one?
A quick search reveals that there was an item at Future Pundit a few years back about women and a daily drink and Science Daily had a similar article in January of 2005. But those were strictly talking about women, whereas the Playboy assertion appears more gender neutral. Clearly more digging is necessary. Here’s what I found.
As early as 2001, Healthnotes Newswire mentioned a study published in Stroke, a medical journal, that reached the same conclusion. A page at Alcohol Problems and Solutions also appears to make the same claim, based on a study published in Aging Health, which said:
There is some evidence to suggest that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption (up to three alcoholic drinks a day, or between one and seven drinks a week) may reduce the risk of cognitive impairment in the elderly compared with those who abstain. Drinking in moderation may contribute to some brain atrophy, but it may also reduce the number of silent infarcts in the brain, a known risk factor for cognitive impairment. In addition, light drinking may reduce blood clotting and blood serum lipid levels, as well as stimulate acetylcholine production in the brain
In addition, two later separate studies seem to confirm those findings. The first was published in Neuroepidemiology in October 2006. The second, in the journal Neurology seems to reach much the same conclusion, as reported by Daily News Central in May of this year.
I didn’t find the 85% figure that was in Playboy, or the study it was based on, but there does seem to be a lot of support for the general idea that moderate drinking can delay my going balmy when I’m a senior citizen. Could this mean that in my old age, there may be fewer lucid neo-prohibitionists to annoy me? Now that would a silver lining … a silver bullet lining.