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Binge Drinking 'Linked To Dementia'

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2:58pm 18th July 2012
(Updated 2:58pm 18th July 2012)

Southwest researchers warn binge drinking could lead to dementia.

The Peninsula Medical School says just two benders a month doubles your risk.

The research has taken eight years.

St Austell psychotherapist and alcohol counsellor Jaki Bedingham said: "We're conditioned, in Western society, to only think about the here and now, and not too think too much about the future in every aspect of our world, including our health. So, if we only think about the here and now, we go out and we party, and we don't think about the consequences.

"If you show somebody something and say, here's the evidence that this is what's going to happen to you in twenty, thirty, forty years time, then I think they're more likely to wake up and smell the coffee, but I'm a real strong believer in education starting at a much younger age."

Dr Iain Lang, who led the research, said: "In our group of community-dwelling older adults, binge drinking is associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline. That’s a real worry because there’s a proven link between cognitive decline and risk of dementia. Those who reported binge drinking at least twice a month were more than twice as likely to have higher levels of decline in both cognitive function and memory. These differences were present even when we took into account other factors known to be related to cognitive decline such as age and level of education."

"This research has a number of implications. First, older people – and their doctors – should be aware that binge drinking may increase their risk of experiencing cognitive decline and encouraged to change their drinking behaviours accordingly. Second, policymakers and public health specialists should know that binge drinking is not just a problem among adolescents and younger adults. We have to start thinking about older people when we are planning interventions to reduce binge drinking."

2:58pm 18th July 2012

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