Study links memory loss to heavy drinking

Men who drink heavily in middle age speed up their rate of memory loss, according to a new study.

Those consuming more than 36 grams of alcohol per day - equivalent to a pint-and-a-half of medium-strength beer - experience noticeable declines in memory and problem-solving skills up to six years earlier than light or moderate drinkers, scientists at University College London found.

File photo of a man drinking beer.
Men who drink heavily in middle age speed up their rate of memory loss, according to a study. Credit: Johnny Green/PA Wire

No differences in memory and executive function - which includes reasoning, planning and problem-solving - were seen between non-drinkers, former drinkers and light or moderate drinkers.

The study involved 7,153 Whitehall civil servants, including more than 5,000 men, whose drinking habits were assessed three times over a period of 10 years.

Dr Simon Ridley, from the charity Alzheimer's Research UK, said, "These latest results could serve as one more reason to stick to any New Year's resolutions to cut back on alcohol."

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