Q. Glen, Does Drinking or Smoking have any effect on Alzheimer's?
A. Heavy drinkers and heavy smokers develop Alzheimer's disease earlier than those with Alzheimer's who don't drink or smoke heavily!
The study looked at 938 people age 60 and older who were diagnosed with possible or probable Alzheimer's disease.
Dr. Ranjan Duara and colleagues of Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami said 7 percent of the subject had a history of heavy drinking -- defined as more than two drinks per day, 20 percent had a history of heavy smoking -- defined as smoking one pack of cigarettes or more per day, while 27 percent had the APOE gene variant, which increases Alzheimer's disease risk.
The study found heavy drinkers developed Alzheimer's 4.8 years earlier and heavy smokers developed the disease 2.3 years sooner than those not heavy smokers. People with the APOE gene developed the disease three years sooner than those without the gene variant. However, those with all three risk factors developed Alzheimer's 8.5 years earlier than those with none of the risk factors.
"It has been projected that a delay in the onset of the disease by five years would lead to a nearly 50-percent reduction in the total number of Alzheimer's cases," Duara told the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Chicago.
Dr. Ranjan Duara, Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami.
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