Study Finds Wine Drinking Lowers Risk of Alzheimer's

People who drink a little wine seem to have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, Danish researchers reported yesterday.

Regular beer drinkers actually had a higher risk of developing dementia, the researchers reported in a study that adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that wine contains healthful compounds.

The results, published in the Nov. 12 issue of the journal Neurology, showed people who drank up to 21 glasses of wine a week had a measurably lower risk of dementia. "Monthly and weekly intake of wine is associated with a lower risk of dementia," the team at the Institute of Preventive Medicine at Kommunehospitalet in Copenhagen wrote in their report.

People who had just a glass of wine a day had a lower risk of dementia than people who drank no wine at all, they added. Although men tended to drink more than women, there were no differences in the health consequences of drinking between men and women.

The study included 1,700 people who had been taking part in a larger study of heart disease, and had been interviewed in the 1970s about their eating and drinking habits. Starting 15 years later, they were checked for dementia. Of the participants, 83 developed dementia and their drinking histories were compared with those of the 1,600 other volunteers. A drink was defined as one beverage containing 9 grams to 13 grams of alcohol and equivalent to one bottle of beer, one glass of wine or one measure of spirits.

Environmental Factors

May Affect Men's Fertility

In findings that renew a debate over whether chemicals or other environmental factors influence sexual development, researchers said some rural men have lower sperm counts than their big-city counterparts.

Men living in rural Missouri had lower sperm counts than men living in New York, Minneapolis and Los Angeles, the researchers said in a report released yesterday.

It joins a collection of studies that have shown conflicting results on whether a man's sperm count is affected by where he lives and the kind of things he is exposed to.

Writing in the December issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, Shanna Swann of the University of Missouri in Columbia and colleagues across the country said they studied 512 couples receiving prenatal care at clinics. They interviewed the men and took blood and semen samples.

Semen quality was equally high in Minneapolis and New York, and slightly lower in Los Angeles. Men from around Columbia, Missouri, had sperm counts and quality that were significantly lower than men from any of the three cities.

Swan's team is now looking for clues in the men's blood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is analyzing the blood for chemicals to see if there are differences between the city and country dwellers.

Compiled from reports by Reuters.