Excessive alcohol intake in adolescence could increase the risk of developing early-onset dementia, according to research published in JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday 12th August 2013.
The study conducted by Umea University, Sweden analysed data from 488,484 men conscripted for mandatory military service from September 1969 through to December 1979, with an average age of 18. Revisiting this data on average of 37 years later, 487 men were diagnosed with dementia at an average age of 54. It was found that hospital-treated alcohol intoxication was the single most important risk factor in those identified.
The study also identified that strokes; the use of antipsychotics; depression, father’s dementia, drug use, low cognitive function at conscription, low height and high blood pressure were also risk factors.
‘We are a long way from knowing exactly why some people develop dementia and others don’t. However, what this study shows once again is that many of the things we are beginning to identify as risk factors are controllable. Kicking excessive teenage drinking or drug habits into touch and treating conditions such as depression early could be key to reducing your risk of dementia in later life.
There are 800,000 people with dementia and this number is expected to reach a million within 10 years. The best way to reduce your risk of dementia is to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, stop smoking and get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly.’
‘Risk Factors in Late Adolescence for Young-Onset Dementia in Men: A Nationwide Cohort Study’ by Peter Nordstom, et al published in JAMA Internal Medicine