Moderate imbibing may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, especially among women who don’t smoke, according to a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

For the study, researchers from the Generalitat Valenciana and the Institut Municipal d’Investigació Mèdicain in Barcelona compared people with Alzheimer’s, which is a degenerative brain disease, to those without the illness. Both groups were of the same age and gender.

Researchers found that moderate alcohol consumption helped protect against the disease, especially among nonsmoking women. They also found that smoking, regardless of the amount, did not seem to affect the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

The results also suggested the need to consider gender as well as interactions between tobacco and alcohol consumption when assessing the effects of smoking and/or drinking on the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, said Ana M. Garcia, PhD, MPH, the study’s lead author, from the University of Valencia’s department of preventive medicine and public health.

“Interactive effects of smoking and drinking are supported by the fact that both alcohol and tobacco affect brain neuronal receptors,” Garcia explained.

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