Passing out drunk may double dementia risk even for moderate drinkers, a new study has shown.
More than 131,000 people were studied in the University College London research, which found losing consciousness from alcohol may double your risk of developing dementia later in life.
The risk held even for people who didn’t drink all that much overall.
Both heavy drinkers — defined as those drinking more than 14 units a week — and moderate drinkers who had passed out in the past were twice as likely as moderate drinkers who had not passed out to develop dementia.
Lead author and UCL Chair of Social Epidemiology Mika Kivimaki told NCA Newswire the “neurotoxicity” that happened in the brain when someone lost consciousness due to drinking alcohol was a likely cause.
“Consumption of high quantities of alcohol in a short time can lead to neurotoxic levels of alcohol,” he said.
“An alternative explanation is that high alcohol consumption increases risk of other diseases which contribute to dementia risk, such as diabetes, hypertension coronary heart disease and stroke.”
He said drinkers should consider how much they drink in one session as well as how much they drink overall if they want to avoid dementia.
“Our study suggests that it is also important to consider drinking patterns because we found that binge drinking may be a long-term dementia risk factor even if a person usually drinks moderately,” he said.
The finding was true for early- and late-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia with features of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.