New research has found that heavy drinking could be associated with a higher risk of developing dementia.
The study looked at over one million adults diagnosed with dementia in France between 2008 and 2013.
Researchers from various organisations, including The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, studied the link between alcohol-related disorders and the development of all types of dementia, including Alzheimer's.
They found that alcohol use disorders were the most important preventable risk factors for the onset of dementia, and early-onset dementia in particular.
The study, which was published in The Lancet Public Health journal, found that 57% of the the 57,353 cases of early-onset dementia (before age 65), most were either alcohol-related by definition or had an additional diagnosis of alcohol-related disorders.
Dr Jurgen Rehm, co-author of the study, said: "The findings indicate that heavy drinking and alcohol use disorders are the most important risk factors for dementia, and especially important for those types of dementia which start before age 65, and which lead to premature deaths."
Rehm added that alcohol-related disorders can shorten life expectancy by over 20 years, and that one of the leading causes of death for these patients is dementia.
The study concluded that screening for heavy drinking should be part of regular medical care, and that intervention or treatment should be offered when necessary.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), heavy drinking is defined as consuming approximately four to five standard drinks per day for men and, on average, three drinks per day for women.