Excessive drinking could increase risks .....

Excessive drinking could increase risk of early-onset dementia

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.

Alzheimer’s Society comment:

‘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.’

Research references:

‘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 


  • One in three people over 65 will develop dementia
  • Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 800,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, more than half have Alzheimer’s disease. In less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia. This will soar to 1.7 million people by 2051
  • Alzheimer’s Society champions the rights of people living with dementia and the millions of people who care for them
  • Alzheimer’s Society works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Alzheimer’s Society has a plan to deal with dementia. Help us support people to live well today and fight for a world without dementia tomorrow. We rely on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0845 306 0898 or visiting alzheimers.org.uk
  • Alzheimer’s Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.uk
©  Alzheimer's Society - 12th August 2013

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