Heavy drinking during middle age can lead to memory loss in later life, a study has shown.
Researchers from the University of Exeter Medical School found a history of excessive drinking or alcohol abuse more than doubled the risk of developing a severe memory impairment.
Scientists questioned 6,542 American middle-aged adults and assessed their mental abilities over an eight year period.
The evidence showed there was a public health issue not being addressed, researchers said.
Lead researcher Dr Iain Lang, from the University of Exeter Medical School, said: "This finding - that middle-aged people with a history of problem drinking more than double their chances of memory impairment when they are older - suggests... that this is a public health issue that needs to be addressed."