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Large Study Reveals Excessive Drinking Doubles the Risk of Dementia

The risk is particularly high in those who drink until they blackout.

Researchers have long known of a link between alcoholism and dementia. In fact, there is a term for the condition called alcoholic dementia.

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Now, a new study is revealing that the connection between the two may even be more worrisome than previously estimated. 

"Consumption of high quantities of alcohol in a short time can lead to neurotoxic blood levels of alcohol, although such episodes are not fully reflected in average consumption levels," a research team led by epidemiologist Mika Kivimaki from University College London said in the new research.

"Thus, both heavy and moderate levels of overall consumption may be combined with excessive drinking episodes leading to acute central nervous system effects, such as loss of consciousness."

To come to this conclusion, Kivimaki and his team analyzed data from seven previous studies. They calculated alcohol intake from 131, 415 participants in the UK, France, Sweden, and Finland.

The researchers were looking for subjects who drank enough alcohol to pass out. In their studies, they found that over 96, 000 said they had experienced such an event and about 10,000 said they'd experienced it in the previous 12 months. The researchers then focused on those participants and began to see a worrisome trend.

"Loss of consciousness due to alcohol consumption was associated with double the risk of subsequent dementia irrespective of overall alcohol consumption," said the scientists. Those who reported having lost consciousness during the past 12 months had twice the risk of dementia (compared to) moderate drinkers who had not lost consciousness."

The results were the same for all participants regardless of age or gender. However, it should be noted that correlation does not necessarily infer causation.

There are other elements at play here that may be causing this connection between excessive drinking and dementia. Still, to stay on the safe side, it is best to always drink moderately.

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