Moderate drinking may help protect against the onset of Alzheimer's disease among otherwise healthy people, a new Spanish study suggests.
Women who don't smoke appear to gain the most benefit from alcohol consumption, according to the research team, from the University of Valencia, the Valencia government and the Municipal Institute of Medical Investigation in Barcelona.
'Our results suggest a protective effect of alcohol consumption, mostly in non-smokers, and the need to consider interactions between tobacco and alcohol consumption, as well as interactions with gender, when assessing the effects of smoking and/or drinking on the risk of Alzheimer's disease,' the study's lead author, Ana M. Garcia, from the University of Valencia's department of preventive medicine and public health, said in a news release.
'Interactive effects of smoking and drinking are supported by the fact that both alcohol and tobacco affect brain neuronal receptors,' Garcia explained.
The findings, published in the May issue of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, are gleaned from a comparative analysis of both the medical background and the smoking and drinking habits among people with Alzheimer's disease stacked up against a group of healthy individuals.
Both groups were similar in age and in gender breakdown.
Smoking appeared to have no impact on Alzheimer's risk, the authors found. However, moderate drinking did seem to reduce risk for the disease, particularly among non-smoking women.