Source: China Daily

05-13-2009 11:47

Special Report:   Tech Max


Drinking may be to blame for one in four cases of dementia, doctors have warned.

Drinking may be to blame for one in four cases of dementia, doctors have warned.
Drinking may be to blame for one in four cases of dementia,
doctors have warned.

And women are particularly at risk because they are more susceptible to alcohol's brainwasting effects, a study found.

The devastating effects of heavy drinking on the brain are too often overlooked but should be given the same priority as lifethreatening liver disease, the researchers said.

They also warn Britons' increasing thirst for alcohol could spawn an epidemic of brain damage, with young drinkers starting to experience memory problems while still in their 40s.

Women are at more risk than men as their bodies are less able to deal with alcohol's toxic effects, the psychiatrists said.

Writing in a special edition of the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, they say alcohol's impact on brain health may be much wider than generally thought.

Between 10 and 24 per cent of the 700,000 cases of dementia in the UK, including some cases of Alzheimer's disease, could be linked to alcohol.

Dr Jane Marshall, an author of the study, said: 'People think dementia is something that happens to people over 65.

'But a lot of those under 65 have got cognitive problems and a large proportion of the problems in that group are related to alcohol.'

The binge-drinking culture means 'it is therefore likely that the prevalence rates of alcohol-related brain damage are currently underestimated and may rise in future generations'.