To better understand the association of alcohol intake with cognitively healthy longevity (CHL), we explored the association between amount and frequency of alcohol intake and CHL among 1,344 older community-dwelling adults. Alcohol intake was assessed by questionnaire in 1984-1987. Cognitive function was assessed in approximate four-year intervals between 1988 and 2009. Multinomial logistic regression, adjusting for multiple lifestyle and health factors, was used to examine the association between alcohol consumption and CHL (living to age 85 without cognitive impairment), survival to age 85 with cognitive impairment (MMSE score >1.5 standard deviations below expectation for age, sex, and education), or death before age 85. Most participants (88%) reported some current alcohol intake; 49% reported a moderate amount of alcohol intake, and 48% reported drinking near-daily. Relative to nondrinkers, moderate and heavy drinkers (up to 3 drinks/day for women and for men 65 years and older, up to 4 drinks/day for men under 65 years) had significantly higher adjusted odds of survival to age 85 without cognitive impairment (p's < 0.05). Near-daily drinkers had 2-3 fold higher adjusted odds of CHL versus living to at least age 85 with cognitive impairment (odds ratio (OR) = 2.06; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.21, 3.49) or death before 85 (OR = 3.24; 95% CI: 1.92, 5.46). Although excessive drinking has negative health consequences, these results suggest that regular, moderate drinking may play a role in cognitively healthy longevity.

Published in General Health

Understanding the relationship between memory function and lifestyle offers great opportunities for promoting beneficial lifestyle choices to foster healthy cognitive aging and for the development of intervention programs for older adults. We studied a cohort of older adults (age 65 and older) enrolled in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, an ongoing prospective population-based research project. A total of 1,966 men and women participated in an episodic memory test every 3 years over a period of 14 years. Lifestyle habits were repeatedly assessed using self-report measures. Physical activity, light-to-moderate alcohol consumption, difficulties staying asleep, and social engagement were associated with better memory function over the course of 14 years. In contrast, smoking and long sleep duration were associated with worse memory function. These findings suggest that certain lifestyle factors can have long-term protective or harmful effects on memory function in aging individuals.

Published in General Health

Background: Hydroxytyrosol is a phenolic compound that is present in virgin olive oil (VOO) and wine. Hydroxytyrosol-related foods have been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Objective: We investigated the associations between hydroxytyrosol and its biological metabolite, 3-O-methyl-hydroxytyrosol, also known as homovanillyl alcohol (HVAL), with CVD and total mortality.

Design: We included 1851 men and women with a mean +/- SD age of 66.8 +/- 6 y at high risk of CVD from prospective cohort data. The primary endpoint was a composite of myocardial infarction, stroke, and death from cardiovascular causes; the secondary endpoint was all-cause mortality. Twenty-four-hour urinary hydroxytyrosol and HVAL and catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) rs4680 genotypes were measured.

Results: After multivariable adjustment, all biomarkers were associated, as a continuous variable, with lower CVD risk, but only HVAL showed a strong inverse association (HR: 0.44; 95% CI: 0.25, 0.80) for the comparison between quintiles. Only HVAL, as a continuous variable, was associated with total mortality (HR: 0.81; 95% CI: 0.70, 0.95). Individuals in the highest quintile of HVAL compared with the lowest had 9.2 (95% CI: 3.5, 20.8) and 6.3 (95% CI: 2.3, 12.1) additional years of life or years free of CVD, respectively, after 65 y. Individuals with the rs4680GG genotype had the highest HVAL concentrations (P = 0.05). There was no association between COMT genotypes and events or interaction between COMT genotypes and HVAL concentrations.

Conclusions: We report, for the first time to our knowledge, an independent association between high urinary HVAL concentrations and a lower risk of CVD and total mortality in elderly individuals. VOO and wine consumption and a high metabolic COMT capacity for methylation are key factors for high HVAL concentrations. The association that stems from our results reinforces the benefits of 2 key components of the Mediterranean diet (wine and VOO). This trial was registered at www.predimed.es as ISRCTN35739639

Published in Cardiovascular System

BACKGROUND & AIMS: The ingestion of small to moderate alcohol consumption amounts has been associated to cardiovascular protection. This study aimed to evaluate the association between alcohol consumption and coronary artery disease severity.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Cross-sectional Study with patients undergoing coronary angiography. Age, cardiovascular risk factors (smoking, systemic arterial hypertension, dyslipidemia and diabetes) and alcohol drinking habit were investigated. Alcohol consumption was divided in three categories: nondrinker, moderate alcohol consumption (less than 15 g ethanol/day for women or 30 g ethanol/day for men) and heavy alcohol consumption. Coronary artery disease severity was assessed through the Friesinger Score (FS) in the coronary angiography, by interventional cardiologists blinded to alcohol consumption.

RESULTS: The final sample included 363 adults; of those, 228 were men (62.81%). Mean age was 60.5 +/- 10.9 y. Unadjusted analyses identified sex, age, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia and alcohol consumption as the main covariates associated with the Friesinger score. Lower Friesinger scores were also observed in moderate alcohol consumption when comparing to those who do not drink (RR 0.86; 95% CI 0.79-0.95).

CONCLUSION: Among patients with suspected coronary artery disease undergoing coronary angiography, moderate alcohol consumption is associated to a lower coronary artery disease severity than heavy drinking.

Published in Cardiovascular System
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