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Alcohol Use Disorders Tied to Increased Risk of Dementia Onset

Last Updated: February 22, 2018.

Alcohol use disorders are associated with increased risk for dementia onset, especially early-onset dementia, according to a study published online Feb. 20 in The Lancet Public Health.

THURSDAY, Feb. 22, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Alcohol use disorders are associated with increased risk for dementia onset, especially early-onset dementia, according to a study published online Feb. 20 in The Lancet Public Health.

Michaël Schwarzinger, M.D., from the Translational Health Economics Network in Paris, and colleagues conducted a nationwide retrospective cohort study of all adult patients (aged 20 and older) admitted to the hospital in metropolitan France between 2008 and 2013. The authors examined the correlation between alcohol use disorders and dementia risk, focusing on early-onset dementia (before age 65 years). A total of 1,109,343 of 31,624,156 adults discharged from hospitals were diagnosed with dementia and included in the analyses.

The researchers found that of the 57,353 cases of early-onset dementia, most were alcohol-related by definition or had an additional diagnosis of alcohol use disorders (38.9 and 17.6 percent, respectively). The strongest modifiable risk factor for dementia onset was alcohol use disorders, with adjusted hazard ratios of 3.34 and 3.36 for women and men, respectively. In sensitivity analyses on dementia case definition or older study populations, alcohol use disorders remained associated with dementia onset for both sexes (adjusted hazard ratios > 1.7). There were also significant correlations for alcohol use disorders with all other risk factors for dementia onset.

"Screening for heavy drinking should be part of regular medical care, with intervention or treatment being offered when necessary," the authors write. "Additionally, other alcohol policies should be considered to reduce heavy drinking in the general population."

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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