(HealthDay News) — Patients with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease who consume two to three alcoholic drinks a day may have a reduced risk of mortality compared to those who consume one or fewer drinks a day, according to a study published online December 11 in BMJ Open.

The study included 321 people in Denmark with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. The study participants were followed for three years, and their caregivers let the researchers know how many drinks a day were consumed. During that time, 53 (16.5%) of the study patients died.

Most of the study volunteers had one or fewer alcoholic drinks daily. About 17% had two to three drinks a day. Eight percent didn’t drink at all and about 4% drank more than three alcoholic drinks a day. Those who had two to three alcoholic drinks a day had a 77% lower risk of dying during the study period than those who had one or fewer drinks a day. The reduced risk of death among moderate drinkers remained after the researchers accounted for a number of significant factors, including age, gender, other health problems, education level, smoking, quality of life, and whether a person lived alone.

“The results of our study point towards a potential, positive association of moderate alcohol consumption on mortality in patients with Alzheimer’s disease,” Sine Berntsen, from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and colleagues write. “However, we cannot solely on the basis of this study neither encourage nor advise against moderate alcohol consumption in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”

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