Alcohol and Dementia - What is the Link? A Systematic Review

Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2020 Jan 9;16:87-99. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S198772. eCollection 2020.


Background: Dementia is a globally increasing health issue and since no cure is currently available, prevention is crucial. The consumption of alcohol is a controversially discussed risk factor for dementia. While many previously published epidemiological studies reported a risk reduction by light to moderate alcohol consumption, there is no persuasive model of an underlying biochemical mechanism. The purpose of this article is to review current models on alcohol neurotoxicity and dementia and to analyze and compare studies focusing on the epidemiological link between alcohol consumption and the risk of dementia.

Methods: The electronic database Pubmed was searched for studies published between 1994 and 2019 concerning the topic.

Results: Available epidemiological studies are not sufficient to verify a protective effect of alcohol on dementia development.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Korsakoff´s syndrome; alcohol neurotoxicity; vascular dementia.

Publication types

  • Review