Can Alcohol Influence the Development of Alzheimer’s Disease?

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Effect of alcohol consumption on Alzheimer’s disease have been controversial.

Some studies show alcohol has a protective effect against the disease, while other studies have pointed to a harmful role for alcohol in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurocognitive diseases.

A new study from the University of Illinois, Chicago found that some of the genes affected by alcohol and inflammation are also concerned with beta amyloid peptides. These peptides form the main component of the amyloid plaques found in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, which causes negative impact on communication between the neurons.

The study suggests that alcohol consumption, and its impact on the immune system and inflammation in the brain, may be the vehicle through which alcohol might exert its influence on the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

To test their hypothesis, researchers exposed rat microglial cells to alcohol, inflammatory cells called proinflammatory cytokines, or alcohol and cytokines for a 24-hour period. The scientists then analyzed the cells to see if their gene expression had changed in each scenario, as well as if the cells could still attack amyloid beta.

Moderate alcohol intake is widely considered to be associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Heavy drinking increases the risk.

What does this mean for Latinos?

Latinos and Alcoholism?

Alcohol

Alcoholism is a rising health crisis for Latinos.

1 in 10 Latinos will have alcohol dependence at some point in their lives and for a number of reasons, some Latinos feel that rehab is difficult to access, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

More importantly, 33% of Latinos who become alcohol dependent have recurrent or persistent problems, compared with 22.8% of non-Latino Whites.

This indicates Latinos have a high risk of alcoholism.

Latinos and Alzheimer’s Disease

aging elderly old woman alzheimers

One study shows that in United States every 65 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease. The trend is increasing every year.

Studies also suggest that U.S. Latinos are 1.5 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than White non-Latinos.

In the U.S., two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients are women. Latinas are at higher risk than non-Latinas.

According to latest report by the Alzheimer’s association more than 5.7 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, a number expected to rise to 14 million by 2050.

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By The Numbers By The Numbers

46

Percent

of all Latinos are homeowners. That's far fewer than Whites (72%).

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