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TO DRINK OR NOT TO DRINK: Dueling Studies Find Alcohol Is Really Good For You (Or Causes Dementia)

Drink alcohol to live longer.

Drinking alcohol gives you dementia.

Pick one.

Those are the findings of two studies that were released within days of each other.

In one study, presented last week at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, people who live to 90 years old or older often drink moderately. Moderately might be the key word: That’s up to two drinks for men per day, and one for women.

“Dr. Claudia Kawas, a specialist in neurology from the University of California, spoke at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Austin, Texas about research that she has carried out for the past 15 years,” The Independent reported.

She and her team began The 90+ Study in 2003 in order to investigate the reasons why some people reach the age of 90 and beyond and others don’t.

The researchers analysed 1,700 nonagenarians, examining how their daily habits affect their health.

They discovered that those who consumed approximately two glasses of beer or wine a day were 18% less likely to experience a premature death.

In fact, the study found that moderate alcohol consumption is even better for people than exercise.

Yay! Time to pop a beer!

But wait. Alcohol can also give you dementia.

Excessive alcohol use could increase your risk for all types of dementia, particularly early-onset dementia, according to a new study,” wrote CNN.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal Lancet Public Health, looked at over 1 million adults released from French hospitals between 2008 and 2013 who were diagnosed with dementia, a clinical syndrome characterized by a progressive deterioration in cognitive ability.

Using data from the French National Hospital Discharge database, the researchers found that alcohol-use disorders were diagnosed in 16.5% of the men with dementia and 4% of the women with dementia — over twice as much as in those without dementia for both sexes.

Research suggests multiple ways heavy alcohol use can lead to dementia. First, ethanol and its byproduct acetaldehyde are known to have a toxic effect on the brain that can lead to long-term structural and functional brain damage, Schwarzinger says.

Heavy alcohol use can also lead to a condition called hepatic encephalopathy, characterized by a loss in brain function due to increases of ammonia in the blood caused by liver damage.

OK, cancel that beer. The latter study even says that any consumption of alcohol impairs brain tissue.

So, as always, we’re back to a brilliant thought uttered by Homer Simpson:

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