When it comes to sensible – and healthy – drinking, Goldilocks could have something to teach us. Drinking too much, or not at all, increases the risk of dementia and cognitive decline.
Instead, say researchers from the University of Turku in Finland, drinking a little alcohol could have the most protective effect on brain functioning.
The ‘little and often’ approach has a positive effect on the way our brain functions 20 years or more later, say the researchers. However, heavy alcohol consumers, or binge drinkers – defined as drinking an entire bottle of wine or equivalent at least once a month – double their risk of dementia compared with someone who regularly drinks one glass. Strangely, people who do not drink at all also increase their risk of dementia 20 years on.
(Source: Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2010; 22: 939-48).