Omega-3 fish oil could help protect against alcohol-related dementia, according to a study presented at the 14th Congress of the European Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism in Warsaw, Poland.
The study, conducted by researchers from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, analyzed the brain cells of rats who had been exposed to large quantities of alcohol.
In a previous study carried out by the same research team, it was discovered that moderate social drinking, defined as two alcoholic drinks a day for men and one for women, could reduce the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia.
The research showed that small amounts of alcohol could improve the fitness of brain cells, by "toughening them up" to cope with stress later in life that could lead to dementia. However, high amounts of alcohol were found to "overwhelm" the cells, leading to inflammation and cell death.
According to the Alzheimer's Society, alcohol-related dementia - often referred to as Wernicke-Korsakoff's syndrome, is diagnosed in about 1 in 8 people with alcoholism. Studies have shown that the condition is most common in men between the ages of 45 and 65 with a long history of alcohol misuse.
For this most recent study, the researchers assessed adult rat brain cells that had been exposed to large quantities of alcohol - the equivalent to a human being four times over the legal alcohol limit for driving.
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