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

Objective: To estimate the prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy among the general population of Latin America and the Caribbean, by country, in 2012.

Methods: Three steps were taken: a comprehensive, systematic literature search; meta-analyses, assuming a random-effects model for countries with published studies; and regression modelling (data prediction) for countries with either no published studies or too few to obtain an estimate.

Results: Based on 24 existing studies, the pooled prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy among the general population was estimated for Brazil (15.2%; 95% confidence interval [95%CI]: 10.4%-20.8%) and Mexico (1.2%; 95%CI: 0.0%-2.7%). The prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy among the general population was predicted for 31 countries and ranged from 4.8% (95%CI: 4.2%-5.4%) in Cuba to 23.3% (95%CI: 20.1%-26.5%) in Grenada.

Conclusions: Greater prevention efforts and measures are needed in the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean to prevent pregnant women from consuming alcohol during pregnancy and decrease the rates of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Additional high quality studies on the prevalence of alcohol consumption during pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean are also needed.

Published in Pregnant Women

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

Falls are a major health problem in older adults, but their relationship with alcohol consumption in this population remains unclear. In a cohort with 2170 older adults followed up for 3.3 years, both moderate drinking and the Mediterranean drinking pattern were associated with a lower risk of falls and injurious falls.

INTRODUCTION: This study aims to examine the association between certain patterns of alcohol consumption, including the Mediterranean drinking pattern (MDP), and the risk of falls in older adults.

METHODS: A prospective cohort with 2170 community-dwelling individuals aged >/=60 years was recruited in Spain in 2008-2010 and followed up through 2012. At baseline, participants reported alcohol consumption and, at the end of follow-up, their falls during the previous year. The MDP was defined as moderate alcohol consumption (threshold between moderate and heavy intake was 40 g/day for men and 24 g/day for women) with preference for wine and drinking only with meals. Analyses were conducted with negative binomial or logistic regression, as appropriate, and adjusted for the main confounders.

RESULTS: Compared with never drinkers, the number of falls was lower in moderate drinkers (incidence rate ratio (95% confidence interval), 0.79 (0.63-0.99)) and drinkers with MDP (0.73 (0.56-0.96)). Also, moderate drinkers and those with MDP showed a lower risk of >/=2 falls (odds ratio (95% confidence interval), 0.58 (0.38-0.88) and 0.56 (0.34-0.93), respectively) and of falls requiring medical care (0.67 (0.46-0.96) and 0.61 (0.39-0.96), respectively).

CONCLUSION: Both moderate drinking and the MDP were associated with a lower risk of falls and injurious falls in older adults. However, sound advice on alcohol consumption should balance risks and benefits.

Published in Drinking Patterns
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