Monday, August 19, 2013

Early-Onset Dementia Linked to Alcohol Abuse in Young Men, Study Finds

Heavy chronic alcohol has been shown to adversely affect health in a number of ways, and it appears that one of those is to help set the stage for early-onset dementia, a large Swedish study published in JAMA Internal Medicine has found. "It seems that alcohol intoxication is a much stronger risk factor for early-onset dementia than anyone could have expected," the lead researcher, Peter Nordstrom, Ph.D., of Umea University in Sweden, told Psychiatric News.

The study included some 500,000 Swedish men who were followed for 37 years beginning at an average age of 18. Nine risk factors emerged for early-onset dementia—that is, dementia occurring before age 65. And the leading risk factor was alcohol abuse. Those subjects who had been hospital-treated for alcohol intoxication were five times more likely to develop early-onset dementia than those who had not been hospitalized for this reason.

Considerable research has been underway in recent years on more effective ways to treat alcohol abuse. To read more, see "Varenicline Shows Promise as Alcohol Abuse Treatment" in Psychiatric News. For additional information on alcohol abuse and treatment, see The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Substance Abuse Treatment, Fourth Edition.

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