Alcohol: benefit or harm


  • Does alcohol slows down the development of dementia
  • Do not jump to conclusions

  • Anyone who reads the daily newspapers, has the rightwonder why the opinion of carbohydrates, alcohol, fats - yes, indeed, on the set of substances and ingredients - constantly changing wrote yesterday that they are good for you, today - that scary harmful, and will write again tomorrow, on the contrary ... Perhaps more just mess with alcohol: some research indicates that it protects against heart attacks and strokes, of the other, it follows that it destroys the liver or encourages violent tendencies. What explains his controversial character? Here is the data of another study, the example of which we consider as failures occur.

    Does alcohol slows down the development of dementia

    Alcohol: benefit or harmThe most recent work, which continues a long traditionStudies of alcohol merits - and promises to become a sensation - this article Gerontology researchers from the University of Bari (Italy), published in the issue of "Neurology" magazine (Neurology) of 22 May 2007. It is reported that the development in people who consume alcohol moderately, senile dementia may develop more slowly than in nondrinkers. Watching for three and a half years for a group of elderly Italians, 1,445 of whom suffered from impaired thinking, and 121 suffered from the syndrome of lung cognitive impairment (LCR), the researchers found that exposed LCR, drink less, "one serving" of alcohol per day, a syndrome He is progressing toward dementia by 85% more slowly than those who did not drink at all. Those who drank more, the results were as disappointing as that of nondrinkers. Expect headlines: "Alcohol strengthens the brain", "Drink a glass a day - and not vpadesh in childhood."

    The trouble is that researchers from Bari,of course, we did not do in his article so categorical conclusions. They only said that one glass per day, perhaps - perhaps! - Protects against dementia. The history of such studies shows that when the researchers simply watching a large group of people without the active intervention, it is difficult to distinguish between the effects of alcohol and the role of other lifestyle features. In an article in Neurology clearly it states: "It is possible that from the cognitive decline protects moderate lifestyle as such (its specific features may vary depending on the cultural features). Consequently, protects against dementia is not a direct effect of alcohol or any specific components of alcoholic beverages. "

    In other words, you can make your own, relying oncommon sense and your own life experience, explain how alcohol consumption is associated with a sharpness of mind and neuroscience data you do not need. Septuagenarian men and women who regularly drank a glass of wine, for example, can moderate drinking just because they are in good physical shape, eat healthy foods, do not suffer serious illness and, accordingly, do not take strong medicines that are incompatible with alcohol, and actively communicate with people - and all of these factors, as well as moderate drinking, linked as proved by scientists, while maintaining sharpness of mind. Of course, when the researchers studied the role of one of these factors, they are trying to distinguish it from others. But in practice it is not always easy. There are some ethical problems that do not allow scientists to forcibly put into the mouth in patients pre-specified portion of alcohol. experimenters power over their guinea limited, and remains to measure what fails.

    Do not jump to conclusions

    To be fair to the scientists and scientific journals: they almost never claim that alcohol - or any other substance - certainly good for health. But scientific articles are usually written with the installation that readers understand that conditionality - that's not a clear cause-and-effect relationship. Layman is not catch this subtlety. And subtlety is often necessary to submit such studies in its true light. Yes, alcohol can still to some extent protect against cognitive decline. Drinking alcohol in moderation, as the researchers found, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and healthy vessels can slow dementia development. The authors note that, as shown by some of the experiments, ethyl alcohol stimulates the release into the blood of a certain chemical substance that acts on the brain and possibly improve memory; that there is a link between alcohol consumption and high levels of "good" cholesterol, and hence, healthy coronary vessels; and that the antioxidants in wine (and it is this spirit usually drink elderly Italians), may also enhance cognitive abilities. However, it is possible that there acts an entirely different mechanism.

    Keep in mind one simple fact: scientists carried out the study, does not claim that proved that any of the foregoing. This does not detract from the value of their work: they first found an association between alcohol consumption and the rate of progression from mild cognitive impairment to dementia. Their findings are consistent with the findings of other scientists, whose research, conducted over a longer period, also indicate that moderate alcohol consumption may be accompanied by a reduced risk in one's dotage. To header in the tabloids all this perhaps too technical and confusing. But when it comes to this kind of research, it is best to contact the original and read everything from beginning to end.

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