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Studies Clash on Wine and Dementia Prevention

Editor
Some studies say it helps, while others aren’t so sure

Two studies, two opposing outcomes. Yet again, health advice becomes frustrating as studies suggest both that we drink wine to prevent Alzheimer’s and avoid it to do the same.

Research from the University of California at San Diego found that moderate drinking could prevent dementia and related cognitive decline in the elderly population.

But research from the University of Oxford suggests that even a moderate amount of drinking leads to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The study’s definition of “moderate” entailed 14 drinks per week for women and 21 drinks per week for men.

We may have lost our excuse to keep drinking so much wine.

“Results of research into the effects of moderate alcohol on the brain are inconsistent,” the results of the Oxford study confess. In fact, previous studies that utilized brain imaging have failed to provide any evidence that confirms the positive effect of wine on brain health. It’s entirely possible that there is no correlation at all.

Studies provide faulty or misleading evidence all the time. The difficulty in using scientific studies to interpret reasonable preventative action is the fact that there are millions of confounding and covert variables that could (or could not) affect the outcome of any given experiment.

In this case, it could be relevant to note that wine consumption is linked with higher incomes and higher levels of education — neither of which were controlled in the study, but both of which are associated with lower rates of dementia and mortality.

For now, we recommend you keep drinking wine to the degree that makes you happy. Happiness has been definitively correlated with better health outcomes, every time.

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