Association between alcohol consumption and Alzheimersdisease: A Mendelian randomization Study PMC



“What they’ve shown is, if you take all patients across time — those with dementia, and those without incident dementia — there is a decline in how much slow-wave sleep they experience,” he said. “This is critically important for neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s [and] Parkinson’s,” he said. Dr. Brian Murray, a professor of neurology at the University of Toronto and head of the neurology division at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, can alcoholism cause dementia said it’s a bit like rebooting a computer — giving it a chance to clear out stray signals. In the case of the human brain, that can mean removing “misfolded protein garbage” that builds up during waking hours. Whether you typically sleep for six hours a night, or need nine hours of shut-eye, everyone’s body goes through a cycle of sleep stages. Once you doze off, your body enters a light sleep, which usually only lasts a few minutes.

Find out about Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, a condition caused by drinking too much alcohol, including information on symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Some of the common symptoms of alcohol-related ‘dementia’ may make it harder for a person to take part in an alcohol treatment programme. They may be treated with drugs that mimic the effect of alcohol on the brain to reduce  withdrawal symptoms. The person will also be given fluids and salts, and high doses of thiamine (vitamin B1) by injection.

Acute Effects of Alcohol

For example, many of these studies classified ‘non-drinkers’ as both people who have given up alcohol consumption due to health reasons (such as previous alcoholics) and lifetime non-drinkers. Alcoholic dementia, or alcohol-related dementia, is a severe form of alcohol-related brain damage caused by many years of heavy drinking. It can lead to dementia-like symptoms, including memory loss, erratic mood, and poor judgment. Similarly, the risk of stroke and accidental head injury is increased in these groups, which can also lead to dementia [5].

  • A professional who has experience of supporting people with alcohol-related ‘dementia’ should be involved in the person’s care.
  • Search terms used included alcohol consumption, alcohol-related dementia, alcohol use disorders, chronic alcoholism, dementia.
  • Many of these lifestyle changes take time that many middle-aged women feel they don’t have, Dr. Caldwell said.
  • Some people may develop behavioral symptoms or problems with memory and decision-making before experiencing motor effects of alcoholic dementia, but the pattern of symptoms doesn’t necessarily follow a particular sequence.
  • MR uses genetic variants
    as proxies for environmental exposures to provide an estimate of the causal
    association between an intermediate exposure and a disease outcome.

But when you add the effects of heavy alcohol use, memory loss can be very serious. Usually, the effects of long-term memory loss are related to drinking 21 or more drinks a week for 4 years or more, according to Massachusetts General Hospital. Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS) is a type of dementia linked to heavy alcohol use. It’s possible that a person can prevent this syndrome from getting worse, but they usually must stop drinking and enhance their nutrient intake. Doctors have identified several ways alcohol affects the brain and memory. People who binge drink or have alcohol use disorder (AUD) may experience short- and long-term memory loss.

What to know about alcoholic dementia

Dementia is an umbrella term for a variety of conditions that affect a person’s processing skills and memory. There are a variety of different types, including Alzheimer’s as well as dementia related to alcohol use. “You name the health problem,” Zhou said, “and chronically not getting enough sleep — or chronically not sleeping well — will accelerate your risk of developing it, or exacerbate the condition if you have it already.” Aging and memory loss also go hand-in-hand with comorbidities — which can disrupt sleep — and might result in someone living long-term in environments that aren’t conducive to quality slumber like brightly-lit hospitals or care homes, he noted. The female brain is rich in estrogen receptors, particularly in regions that control memory, mood, sleep and body temperature, all of which “work beautifully when estrogen is high and consistent,” Dr. Mosconi said.

link between alcohol and dementia

You may also get a brain scan to rule out other potential conditions, like stroke, tumor, or a brain bleed caused by physical trauma. These changes may hinder the brain from functioning properly, causing cognitive decline. However, many support services have a ‘complex needs’ team which are better equipped to support the different needs of someone with alcohol-related ‘dementia’. They may also find it very difficult to stay motivated if they do stop drinking, because losing motivation is a symptom of dementia. It is likely that a person will need a brain scan to rule out other causes of their symptoms. You don’t have to cut out those glasses of wine with dinner or occasional nightcaps to keep your brain cognitively fit as you age, new research suggests.

Epidemiological Findings Concerning Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Dementia

On the other hand, excessive amounts of alcohol interact with neurotransmitter systems and increase blood–brain barrier (BBB) permeability, resulting in brain damage and dysfunction [20]. The gut microbiota plays an important role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders. Recent research shows that probiotics may improve the symptoms of neurodegenerative disorders, suggesting a causal link between gastrointestinal alterations and the etiology of many neuronal diseases, including AD, PD and ALS [29]. Like randomized control trials, MR analyses
reduce confounding and reverse causality due to the random allocation of genotypes
from parents to offspring.

Menopause And Dementia Risk: Here’s What to Know – The New York Times

Menopause And Dementia Risk: Here’s What to Know.

Posted: Tue, 21 Nov 2023 10:00:38 GMT [source]

These can make it even harder for the person to stop drinking – and make it difficult for people close to them to help. The symptoms of alcohol-related ‘dementia’ can change a lot from person to person. If a person with the condition has a brain scan, it will often show that some areas of the brain have shrunk much more than others.

Study found decrease in deep sleep associated with higher risk of dementia in people aged 60 and up

Heavy alcohol consumption over a long period of time can lead to brain damage. People who drink heavily over a long period of time are more likely to have a reduced volume of the brain’s white matter, which helps to transmit signals between different brain regions. A 2016 study found that heavy drinking, equating to eight or more drinks per week, and drinking liquor increased cognitive decline among people with AD. For many people, research suggests that light to moderate drinking of alcohol seems to have a protective benefit on dementia risk.

  • In the absence of randomized control trials, a
    novel method for estimating causal effects of risk factors in observational studies
    using genetic variants is Mendelian randomization (MR).
  • These foods were thought to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant or other properties that might help protect the brain.
  • Having an active social life has shown to help ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
  • For reference, one unit is considered a half pint of beer or a small glass of wine.
  • The person may not get the right treatment and support, which is why it is important to tell doctors about drinking too much alcohol.
  • And Dr. Mosconi found that brain scans of physically active middle-aged women had fewer Alzheimer’s biomarkers compared to their sedentary counterparts.

These risk factors could serve as potential targets for the prevention of dementia [44]. Mendelian randomization uses genetic variants as proxies for environmental
exposures to provide an estimate of the causal association between an intermediate
exposure and a disease outcome (Figure 1)
[12]. The genetic variants used in MR act as an instrumental variable
(IV) and if the assumptions hold for the genetic variant (Figure 1), any association between the genetic variants
and the disease outcome must come via the variant’s association with the
exposure. Which covers several different conditions including Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and alcoholic dementia, caused by regularly drinking too much alcohol over several years.


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