Alcohol use disorders are strongly linked to risk of dementia in people less than age 65, according to a study in Lancet Public Health. More commonly referred to as alcoholism, alcohol use disorder means a persistent pattern of harmful alcohol use or dependence on alcohol.
Researchers examined the hospital records of nearly 32 million adults in France admitted between 2008 and 2013—the largest study of its type to date. In 39% of roughly 57,000 people diagnosed with early-onset dementia during the study period, hospital records indicated that alcohol consumption was a direct contributing cause. An additional 18% of the people with early dementia also had alcohol use disorder. The authors concluded, “Findings from this nationwide study suggest that the burden of dementia attributable to alcohol is much larger than previously thought.”