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Alcohol Wards Off Early Death in Alzheimer’s Patients, Say Puzzled Danish Researchers

In a strange result from a study, consumption of alcohol was found to have warded off an early death in some patients of Alzheimer’s disease, making experts speculate on possible reason behind it.

The finding was that moderate drinking was linked to a lower risk of dying from heartattack or stroke, while past research has thrown sufficient light on possible ill-effects of alcohol on brain cells. It was established beyond doubt that alcohol leads to dementia and other neuro-degenerative disorders.

Armed with classic knowledge, the researchers of the Danish Alzheimer’s Intervention Study (DAISY) were aghast to realize that the analysis from the data collected from 330 people with early stage dementia or Alzheimer’s diesease showed them different results.

The results showed a potential, positive association of moderate alcohol consumption on mortality in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Unable to pin-point the reason, the researchers say there could be several explanations such as richer social network to improved quality of life, which could possibly lengthen life.

The seemingly protective effect of alcohol may have been caused by reverse causality, whereby those drinking very little alcohol were in the terminal phase of their life, which would have artificially inflated the positive association, they said.

"However, we cannot solely, on the basis of this study, either encourage or advise against moderate alcohol consumption in patients," said the researchers with a note of caution.

Unless further research into the impact of alcohol on cognitive decline and disease progression in patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease is done, they are not sure to confirm the link beyond doubt. Their study has been published in the online journal BMJ Open.

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