Is a Change in Alcohol Consumption Associated with the Incidence of Dementia?

Currently, more than 57 million people live with dementia worldwide, and this number is expected to increase to more than 152 million by 2050. Alcohol consumption is generally considered as a potential modifiable risk factor for dementia, but the results in the literature are not completely consistent.

In this study, the authors evaluated the association between comprehensive patterns of changes in alcohol consumption and the risk of dementia stratified by the initial amount of alcohol consumption using a large sample of a representative Korean population. 

“This study is the first to use the sustainers at the same level of alcohol consumption, in addition to the abstainers, as a reference group within each baseline alcohol consumption level”, which enables more comprehensive understanding on the association between changes in the pattern of alcohol consumption and risk of dementia.

Data was obtained from the Korean National Health Insurance Service database. Adults aged 40 years and older underwent 2 health examinations in 2009 and 2011. The cohort was assessed until December 31, 2018, and statistical analysis was performed in December 2021.

In conclusion, these analyses indicate that maintaining mild to moderate alcohol consumption is associated with a decreased risk of dementia, whereas maintaining heavy drinking is associated with an increased risk of dementia. 

Notably, our analyses stratified by the initial amount of alcohol consumption indicate that reduction of drinking from a heavy to a moderate level and initiation of mild drinking were associated with a decreased risk of all-cause dementia and AD.


Jeon KH, Han K, Jeong S, et al. Changes in Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Dementia in a Nationwide Cohort in South Korea. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(2):e2254771. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.54771

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