Does wine prevent dementia?
Roger M Pinder
Pharma Consultant, York, UK
Abstract: There is substantial evidence that moderate consumption of alcohol reduces significantly the risks of coronary heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, the incidence of dementia, both of the Alzheimer’s type (AD) and the vascular variety (VaD), is lower in societies which consume a Mediterranean diet of mainly fish, fruit, vegetables, olive oil, and wine. In particular, extensive evidence from both population-based cohort and case control studies in different areas of the world and across genders and racial groups suggests that regular consumption of moderate amounts of alcohol, especially in the form of wine, is associated with a lower risk of developing AD and VaD compared with abstention and heavy drinking. Carriers of the APOE ε4 allele seem to gain less benefit. Age-related cognitive decline, particularly in women, is lower in regular drinkers, while older drinkers with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) progress less frequently to AD than their abstaining counterparts. Plausible biological mechanisms for the neuroprotective effects of wine include its glucose-modifying, antioxidant and inflammatory properties, but it additionally seems to modify the neuropathology of AD, particularly the deposition of amyloid plaque. Indeed, some of these mechanisms are already targets for the development of new therapeutic agents for the treatment of dementia.
Keywords: alcohol, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, epidemiology, polyphenols, wine
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