If you never drank until you completely blacked out, chances are you have at least had to look after someone who did. Last Wednesday (9), a study on alcohol consumption was published by University College London, which pointed out that those who drink a lot may be at a greater risk of developing dementia in the future.
The University College London team of doctors found that those who drank to the point of unconsciousness developed neurodegenerative diseases twice as often compared to those who did not drink. The scientists analyzed 131,415 participants and followed them more than a decade later. Interestingly, the increased risk does not depend as much on factors as how many drinks a participant drank per week.
What happens is that people who drink more often have 1.2 times the risk of developing dementia compared to people who drink moderately. However, people who lose consciousness, even if they drink moderately, are twice as likely to develop dementia as those who have not.
The study does not demonstrate that drinking a lot causes dementia, by itself, as it is possible that some people with neurodegenerative diseases have started drinking more or become more susceptible to passing out. But, in any case, there are worrying implications for those who sometimes drink beyond the limit. The study still has some pitfalls, in part because the participants may not have provided such truthful information.
“Self-reported general consumption and loss of consciousness due to alcohol consumption were assessed at the beginning of the study. As many people refer to ‘passing out’ as falling asleep after drinking alcohol, these numbers are likely to overestimate rather than underestimate the real loss of consciousness related to alcohol ”, wrote the scientists in the article.
Data on the state of dementia were extracted from hospital admission records, death records and reimbursements for medical treatment with any mention of dementia in the diagnosis. Electronic records included the exact date of diagnosis or death, and the duration of follow-up was measured as the difference between the date of the initial examination and the date of diagnosis or death. “Using the same electronic health records, we measured the following disorders as potential mediators of the association between alcohol consumption and dementia: liver and kidney disease, epilepsy, mood disorders, diabetes, hypertension, arrhythmia, myocardial infarction, heart failure, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracerebral hemorrhage, infarction, head injuries and other injuries “, concludes the study.