Late-Onset Alcohol Abuse Can Be a Presenting Symptom of Dementia, Researchers Find

Patients who start abusing alcohol later in life—after age 40—may be doing so secondary to an underlying neurologic condition, such as frontotemporal dementia, according to findings by a team of researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the University of California, San Francisco.

Overall alcohol abuse—classified as when alcohol consumption negatively impacts work or social life or leads to legal ramifications—is present in 1.7 percent of older adults in the United States. Previous research has identified lifelong alcohol abuse as a risk factor for dementia. However, it has been unknown whether older adults who begin abusing alcohol late in life have an underlying neurodegenerative disease.

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