The level of drinking scientists say could help ward off dementia

Elderly people who don't drink are more likely to develop dementia than those who drink a little, new research has found. 

But don't celebrate just yet - the amount you have to drink to ward off dementia is less than one standard drink a week.

The research, published in journal JAMA Network Open on Saturday, found people aged 72 and over who drank more than 14 standard drinks a week were more likely than teetotallers to develop dementia.

Scientists at Harvard in the US studied more than 3000 elderly Americans over six years, tracking their drinking habits and cognitive abilities.

There was no link between rates of dementia and alcohol consumption between one and 14 drinks a week. 

"While this type of study cannot show cause and effect, the results suggest the relationship between alcohol consumption and dementia risk is complicated," the authors said in a statement.

"Doctors should take into account whether a patient is cognitively impaired when advising on safe levels of drinking."



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