Page last updated: September 15, 2016
Beer drinking associates with lower burden of amyloid beta aggregation in the brain

A study investigated the association between consumption of different alcoholic beverages and β-amyloid (Aβ) aggregation in the brain, one of the neuropathological lesions of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study included 125 males of the Helsinki Sudden Death autopsy series with an age at death ranging from 35 to 70 years. The consumption of alcohol, Aβ aggregation in the brain, and Apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype were assessed. Relatives answered a questionnaire to gather alcohol consumption history, and Aβ was visualised by implementing immunohistochemical staining of brain sections. Aβ immunoreactivity (IR) was assessed in a dichotomised (yes/no) fashion and as a stained area fraction (%). APOE genotype was assessed in DNA extracted from paraffin-embedded cardiac muscle samples.

Increased age (p = 0.001; odds ratio [OR] = 1.09, confidence interval [CI] = 1.04 to 1.15) was associated with higher prevalence of Aβ-IR. Beer drinking decreased (p = 0.024; OR = 0.35, CI = 0.14 to 0.87) the prevalence of Aβ-IR and was associated with a significantly lower extent of Aβ-IR (p = 0.022). The amount of alcohol consumed was not linked with Aβ aggregation and neither was spirit nor wine consumption.

Beer consumption may protect against Aβ aggregation in brain, the authors suggest. Further studies are necessary to fully understand the effects of alcohol on Aβ pathology seen in brain tissue.

Source: Beer Drinking Associates with Lower Burden of Amyloid Beta Aggregation in the Brain: Helsinki Sudden Death Series. Kok EH, Karppinen TT, Luoto T, Alafuzoff I, Karhunen PJ. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2016 Jul;40(7):1473-8. doi: 10.1111/acer.13102. Epub 2016 May 24.

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