Heavy Drinking could Play a Role in Increasing Alzheimer’s Disease

People who deal with Alzheimer’s disease struggle with numerous symptoms such as mental decline and mood changes. However, heavy drinking could make things worse.

 A New Study

The Journal of Inflammation published a new study that was done by a research team from University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Medicine. The team discovered that consuming massive amounts of alcohol could have a harmful effect on people dealing with Alzheimer’s disease. The scientists focused on how the results of consuming too much alcohol created a protein called amyloid beta.

If this protein clumps together, it creates plaque. This plaque could pose a threat to an Alzheimer’s patient’s brain as it could potentially eliminate nerve cells. To protect the brain against the plaque, it creates special cells called microglial cells. Scientists believe that the microglial cells would digest the plaque through a process called phagocytosis.

Rats Cells And Alcohol

The research team wanted to see how microglial cells reacted to alcohol. Scientists retrieved microglial cells from two Sprague Dawley rats. The research team linked the rats’ cells as people who were heavy drinkers. They exposed them to three different mixtures. The rats’ microglial cells were exposed to alcohol, inflammatory cells, and alcohol that was mixed cytokines, a small group of protein cells, in 24 hours.

The research team discovered that when the rats’ microglial cells encountered any of the alcohol mixtures, they faced the same amount of problems that binge drinkers could face. The scientists noted that the phagocytosis process was hampered within one hour of being around alcohol.

“While these studies were performed in isolated cells, our results suggest that alcohol impedes the ability of microglia to keep the brain clear of amyloid beta and may contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Douglas Feinstein, the study’s lead author told Medical News Today.

Other Alcohol Studies

The World Cancer Research Fund recommended that people should remove alcohol from their diet. They found that too much consumption of alcohol, red meat, and sugary drinks could increase a person’s chance of becoming obese. Obesity could also lead them to a rise of getting several different cancers including liver, prostate, stomach, and bowel cancer. The WCRF recommends that if people still want to drink, they should drink the smallest serving size possible.

Scientific journal Microbiome released a study on April 24 that found that people who had one or more alcoholic beverages daily tend to have plenty of harmful bacteria and a small number of good bacteria in their mouth than people who do not drink. The harmful oral bacteria could be linked to an increased risk of heart problems, various cancers, and gum disease.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking is every day among U.S. adults. The health organization also revealed that U.S. adults have 17 billion alcoholic beverages a year and that 37 million Americans binge drink. They also show that Americans consume an average of seven drinks per sitting.