22 March 2022 In Dementia

BACKGROUND: The relationship between moderate alcohol drinking or other alcohol drinking patterns such as frequency, beverage type, and situation of drinking and cognitive function is not sufficiently clear in older people. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between alcohol drinking patterns and cognitive function in community-dwelling Japanese people aged 75 and over.

METHODS: This study was a cross-sectional design based on a prospective cohort study called the SONIC study. Subjects were older people aged 75-77 or 85-87 who voluntarily participated in 2016-2017. Drinking information was collected for daily drinking frequency, daily drinking intake, beverage type, and non-daily drinking opportunity. Cognitive function was measured using the Japanese version of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA-J). Other potential confounding factors evaluated were age, sex, medical factors, and psychosocial factors. An analysis of covariance was performed to evaluate the MoCA-J score relative to drinking frequency or alcohol intake. Multiple regression analysis was performed to investigate the association between beverage type or non-daily drinking opportunity and the MoCA-J score.

RESULTS: The final number of participants analyzed was 1,226. The MoCA-J score for participants who reported drinking alcohol 1-6 days/week was significantly higher than that for those who reported drinking none or every day. No significant difference in the MoCA-J score was observed relative to daily alcohol intake. In terms of beverage type, wine was associated positively with the MoCA-J score. Non-daily drinking opportunity was also associated positively with the MoCA-J score.

CONCLUSIONS: Moderate-frequency drinking, wine consumption, and non-daily drinking opportunities were associated with higher cognitive function in community-dwelling Japanese aged 75 and over. Further longitudinal studies are needed to clarify the causal relationships.

25 August 2020 In General Health

Epidemiological estimates indicate not only an increase in the proportion of older adults, but also an increase in those who continue moderate alcohol consumption. Substantial literatures have attempted to characterize health benefits/risks of moderate drinking lifestyles. Not uncommonly, reports address outcomes in a single outcome, such as cardiovascular function or cognitive decline, rather than providing a broader overview of systems.

In this narrative review, retaining focus on neurobiological considerations, we summarize key findings regarding moderate drinking and three health domains, cardiovascular health, Type 2 diabetes (T2D), and cognition. Interestingly, few investigators have studied bouts of low/moderate doses of alcohol consumption, a pattern consistent with moderate drinking lifestyles. Here, we address both moderate drinking as a lifestyle and as an acute event. Review of health-related correlates illustrates continuing inconsistencies.

Although substantive reductions in risk for cardiovascular and T2D events are reported, robust conclusions remain elusive. Similarly, whereas moderate drinking is often associated with enhanced cognition and lower dementia risk, few benefits are noted in rates of decline or alterations in brain structure. The effect of sex/gender varies across health domains and by consumption levels. For example, women appear to differentially benefit from alcohol use in terms of T2D, but experience greater risk when considering aspects of cardiovascular function.

Finally, we observe that socially relevant alcohol doses do not consistently impair performance in older adults. Rather, older drinkers demonstrate divergent, but not necessarily detrimental, patterns in neural activation and some behavioral measures relative to younger drinkers. Taken together, the epidemiological and laboratory studies reinforce the need for greater attention to key individual differences and for the conduct of systematic studies sensitive to age-related shifts in neurobiological systems.


The authors have taken reasonable care in ensuring the accuracy of the information herein at the time of publication and are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Read more on our disclaimer and Privacy Policy.