Steve Thompson recalls signs of his early-onset dementia

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Dementia is not a direct result of ageing which means there are ways to reduce your risk. While a healthy diet is one of the best-known weapons against any disease, a popular alcoholic drink could also have some tricks up its sleeve. A new study has found a surprising link between beer and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Prevention is always a more desirable strategy than a treatment, with diet proving especially potent for lowering the risk of dementia.

While alcohol is one of the major risk factors for any dementia type, those who enjoy an occasional pint of beer may be onto something.

A new study, published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience, arrived at a surprising conclusion – beer may ward off Alzheimer’s disease.

Being the third most popular beverage worldwide, it’s no surprise beer is a go-to choice for many.

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The reason why the golden drink could have protective effects against dementia comes down to its main ingredient – hops.

A key component of a beer’s aroma and flavour, hops offer more than the beloved bitter taste.

Recent studies have suggested that the little flower can improve cognition, attention and even mitigate Alzheimer’s disease in mice.

The new study elaborates on this research by adding their finding that hops were able to prevent the clumping of protein plaques linked to Alzheimer’s disease in lab dishes.

This type of dementia is characterised by abnormal levels of sticky deposits called amyloid beta, which clump together to form plaques that collect between neurons and disrupt cell function.

The research team examined four common varieties of hops using a similar method brewers use to produce the popular alcoholic drink.

They then exposed the hops to amyloid proteins and human nerve cells.

Their findings suggested that a type of hop grown in Germany called Tettnang – think amber and light lagers – was the most effective at clearing clumps of protein.

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While hops can help target underlying events linked to Alzheimer’s disease development, the Italian researchers warn their findings might not justify drinking more beer.

Drinking alcohol in excess is a huge risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease as well as other dementia types, according to Alzheimer’s Society.

Heavy drinking speeds up the shrinkage of the brain’s white matter, leading to cognitive issues.

The researchers added that their findings suggest that hops could be the basis for foods that will lessen the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

However, this study isn’t the only research that linked alcohol to a lower risk of dementia.

A study, published in the journal Addiction, found that occasional and light to moderate drinkers were 22 percent less likely to develop the mind-robbing condition.

Looking at almost 25,000 participants, the researchers found that even the biggest drinkers were 19 percent less likely to develop dementia.

But the team also reported limitations such as the alcohol intake being self-reported by participants.

The NHS recommends avoiding regularly drinking more than 14 units a week to keep health risks from alcohol to a low level.

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