COMMENTARY

Another Reason to Avoid Heavy Drinking? Dementia

Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH

Disclosures

March 23, 2018

Hello. I'm Dr Arefa Cassoobhoy, a practicing internist, Medscape advisor, and senior medical director for WebMD. Welcome to Medscape Morning Report, our 1-minute news story for primary care.

Heavy drinking can lead to many health issues. A new study[1] looks at alcohol use and dementia. The French observational study included over 1 million adults diagnosed with dementia between 2008 and 2013. It found that of 57,000 cases of early-onset dementia, 39% were due to an alcohol-related condition like Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, liver disease, epilepsy, or head injury. And 18% had an additional diagnosis of alcohol-use disorder.

Overall, alcohol-use disorders were associated with a three-times greater risk for all types of dementia.

The researchers concluded that heavy drinking is the strongest modifiable risk factor for dementia. This should motivate us to focus on early screening, brief interventions, and treatment to help our patients.

Follow Dr Cassoobhoy on Twitter at @ArefaMD 

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