A new study shows that the most common cause of Alzheimer’s in older people is not smoking, but heavy alcohol use.
Researchers found that, among people aged 65 and over, those who drank four or more drinks per week had a 64 percent chance of developing the disease.
That was a greater risk than the risk among people who only drank two or less drinks per month.
The risk was greatest among people with a history of heart disease.
The authors of the study say it is the first study to identify the cause of this disease.
They have published their findings in the journal BMJ Open.
“Our results suggest that alcohol may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s,” says study author Dr. David B. Riddick, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University.
“It’s not clear why it’s so high among people.”
Researchers say they can’t prove that heavy drinking causes Alzheimer’s.
But, they say it’s important to consider this potential risk when planning a long-term alcohol diet.
For instance, people who smoke and who drink heavily may have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those who do not, says Riddack.
The study looked at the results of a survey of almost 100,000 people aged over 60 in the US.
Those who drank more than four drinks per day had a 65 percent chance, while those who only took two or one drank per week, the researchers found.
Rids are also the second-most common cause for Alzheimers, behind heart disease, and more than twice as common as the most prevalent cause of death.
The new study, which was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, looked at data from the National Death Index, which measures the risk of death and disability from various causes.
It also looked at other sources of disease, including smoking, and medical history, and then found that people who drank the most had a higher death risk than those with the lowest consumption.
They also found that heavy alcohol users had a significantly higher risk than people who didn’t.
“The link between alcohol consumption and Alzheimer’s is not as clear as it once was,” says Raskick.
He says the results are important because it suggests that it is possible to control alcohol consumption, and that this is a very effective way to prevent Alzheimer’s, but he cautions that there is still much work to be done to prevent it.
Raskik said he was particularly concerned about the higher risk among women.
It’s important that women take the necessary steps to prevent their risk of Alzheimer, he says.
Riddle adds that it’s also important that people understand that alcohol is a major risk factor of dementia, and people who are able to control it are more likely to avoid developing dementia.
“A lot of this work is being done in young adulthood,” he says, “and we’re still finding these things, but we don’t really understand why it happens in people.”
For more information about Alzheimer, check out the Alzheimer research website.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.