Although many studies have shown a strong association between excessive alcohol use and dementia, this study is unique in its findings about early-onset dementia, according to Dr. Kostas Lyketsos, a neuropsychiatry professor and director of the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer’s Treatment Center
who was not involved in the study. “That is rather unique,” Lyketsos said. “It does remind us that alcoholics have shorter life expectancies.” The study was also among the largest of its kind. But, according to Lyketsos, the large size could leave the study open to selection bias. “There’s a tradeoff between size and precision of the variables,” he said. “The more people you have, the less confidence you have in the elements that go into the diagnosis of dementia. “I also want to point out that this was really a sample of hospitalized individuals. It’s very unusual for people with dementia, at least in the milder stages, to be hospitalized,” he added.