This study found a positive association between moderate alcohol intake and cognitively healthy longevity, an association that was greatest in individuals with a regular, moderate drinking pattern. … It is not appropriate to recommend that abstainers initiate drinking.
Note: A great deal of the coverage of this paper is misleading. The take-home fact often lost is that, as the study itself says, no doctor would advise we start drinking alcohol to guard against dementia in our old age. Drinking more than a small amount of alcohol is associated with a significantly higher risk of dementia, as well as many other problems, including having memory, cognitive and emotional difficulties well before we get old. Drinking a small amount, meanwhile, significantly increases our chances of drinking more than a small amount, particularly in environments where it is common. The Alzheimer’s Society sifts through the evidence of alcohol and dementia here and outlines the kinds of brain damage and malfunction heavy drinking can cause here. ■