Paul's Passing Thoughts

Alcohol Consumption In The Age of Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 24, 2018

ppt-jpeg4Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Everyone is either affected by the disease directly or knows someone who is. One in three among seniors will die from this disease, and its mortality rate is higher than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined. Alzheimer’s makes up the largest category under the umbrella of dementia at 70%. Alzheimer’s is a disease and not part of the normal aging process that hinders cognition in minor ways.

As a nurse aide, the vast majority of people I care for have one of many forms of dementia. However, the following statistic may surprise you: presently, just under 6 million people suffer with the disease and are cared for by 16 million unpaid caregivers. Though there are no numbers in regard to professional caregivers, the cost versus estimated value is the same: about 250 billion. The lions share of unpaid caregivers only care for one individual while professional caregivers care for 9-15 people in a limited time frame. All in all, it may be surmised that it is a 50/50 split between professional care and family/friends. To me, that is an astounding statistic.

Stated simply, very simply, dementia is the loss/death of brain cells resulting in the degeneration of brain tissue, which results in hindered communication between the brain cells. True, with Alzheimer’s, plaque in the brain is the primary issue but the buildup is associated with the death of brain cells directly. We don’t need to get any more technical than that to discuss the primary theses of this post.

Alcohol consumption yields the exact same result. Consequently, brain scans of those with dementia and alcoholics look the same. In fact, there is an alcohol related category of dementia called, “Alcohol-related dementia” and other conditions known as Korsakoff’s Syndrome and  Korsakoff’s psychosis under the same category.

And dementia is on the increase at breakneck speed. Long story short, in the next 7 years, every state is expected to see a 14% increase.

Couple that with this culture’s celebrated drinking culture. In fact, in the recent Supreme Court Senate hearings regarding Brett Kavanaugh, he boldly proclaimed that he drank beer while he was young, still does, liked it then, and still does. His unapologetic posture on the subject even silenced those who find sin in every element of his existence. Not only is our drinking culture celebrated, the excessiveness of it is celebrated the most. It is documented that Kavanaugh’s circle of young friends had a summer goal of consuming 100 kegs of beer. There is no need to belabor the point here; in our culture, the celebration of excessive drinking can be seen everywhere you point a stick whether at the company water cooler or on social media.

While 2+2=4 on this issue, you can bet our culture is not going to attack drinking in the same way it has attacked cigarette smoking. Indeed, it may be considered a sacred cow. And by the way, let me insert here that in the same way cigarette smoking is not the sole cause of lung cancer, drinking is not the sole cause of dementia by any stretch of the imagination. What we are talking about here is the wisdom of not throwing alcohol on a fire.

The goal of this post is to encourage people, especially our young people, to think about this issue differently. Society can be, and often is, completely irrational. Beware of group think or group mentality. At the very least, in light of the facts, excessive drinking, for many other reasons by the way, is just a really, really bad idea. You may even ask yourself if moderate drinking is all that necessary or expedient for purposes of entertainment.

And here is my fear: while refusing to acknowledge cause and effect as our culture is often fond of doing while also being willfully ignorant of financial politics, caring for those with dementia will not be economically sustainable. Caring for dementia is already 1% of the world’s total GNP.

Here is my reminder to the old and young alike, but especially the young: sound health decisions are synonymous with sound lifestyle decisions in the way that you live AND THINK. Beware of collective logic…most of the time. In regard to collective logic, shoot first and ask questions later. Collective logic should be presumed guilty and made to bear all burden to prove its innocence to you, and you alone.


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  1. republican mother said, on October 25, 2018 at 9:34 AM

    I think a huge contributor to Alzheimer’s is the combination of the modern American diet and the prescription of statin drugs. The brain is mostly fat, and when it is fed the proper nutrients, it will not turn into “swiss cheese” as shown in the MRIs of Alzheimer patients. The Japanese, who eat a good bit of fish, have lower rates of Alzheimer’s than Japanese-Americans. I can say that fish oil helped my son learn sight words he previously couldn’t “get”.

    I did see a guy once who “drunk his brain to mush”. He was almost unintelligible and was drooling-not a good look. I do think, however, that Kavanaugh’s drinking is pretty tame compared to the depravity that a lot of those DC people engage in (Hastert, Menendez, etc). That was the context of the exchange he had in his confirmation hearing. Also note that Kavanaugh “saw the sausage being made” in the Vince Foster investigation. That guy probably knows where a lot of the bodies are buried in DC, and to have his beer drinking criticized in the face of rampant depravity is pretty audacious.

    As far as drinking attitudes changing, I’ve seen in here in Tennessee during my lifetime. You can tell the old folks have died off, because it used to be very hard to obtain even beer around here. My county growing up was dry and we did not even have “liquor by the drink” restaurants. You had to drive to Kentucky to get beer. Now the dollar store sells beer and the grocery store sells wine! Christians around here now have a much more lackadaisical attitude toward drinking for sure.

    Add to the drinking, the sports injuries that will follow you through life. I’ve never seen so many busted up teenagers. I can’t imagine how some of these injuries are going to feel in thirty years!


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