Moderate, Regular Alcohol Consumption is Associated with Higher Cognitive Function in Older Community-Dwelling Adults

BACKGROUND: Evidence suggests that moderate alcohol consumption may protect against cognitive decline and dementia. However, uncertainty remains over the patterns of drinking that are most beneficial.

OBJECTIVE: To examine associations between amount and frequency of alcohol consumption with multiple domains of cognitive function in a well-characterized cohort of older community-dwelling adults in southern California.

DESIGN: Observational, cross-sectional cohort study.

SETTING: A research visit between 1988-1992 in Rancho Bernardo, California.

PARTICIPANTS: 1624 participants of the Rancho Bernardo Study (mean age +/- SD = 73.2 +/- 9.3 years). Measurements: Participants completed a neuropsychological test battery, self-administered questionnaires on alcohol consumption and lifestyle, and a clinical health evaluation. We classified participants according to average amount of alcohol intake into never, former, moderate, heavy and excessive drinkers, and according to frequency of alcohol intake, into non-drinkers, rare, infrequent, frequent and daily drinkers. We examined the association between alcohol intake and cognitive function, controlling for age, sex, education, exercise, smoking, waist-hip ratio, hypertension and self-assessed health.

RESULTS: Amount and frequency of alcohol intake were significantly associated with cognitive function, even after controlling for potentially related health and lifestyle variables. Global and executive function showed positive linear associations with amount and frequency of alcohol intake, whereas visual memory showed an inverted U-shaped association with alcohol intake, with better performance for moderate and infrequent drinkers than for non-drinkers, excessive drinkers or daily drinkers.

CONCLUSIONS: In several cognitive domains, moderate, regular alcohol intake was associated with better cognitive function relative to not drinking or drinking less frequently. This suggests that beneficial cognitive effects of alcohol intake may be achieved with low levels of drinking that are unlikely to be associated with adverse effects in an aging population.

Additional Info

  • Authors:

    Reas,E.T.; Laughlin,G.A.; Kritz-Silverstein,D.; Barrett-Connor,E.; McEvoy,L.K.

  • Issue: J Prev.Alzheimers.Dis. / pages 105-113
  • Published Date: 2016/9
  • More Information:

    For more information about this abstract, please contact
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at the Deutsche Weinakademie GmbH

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