22 September 2022 In Dementia

AIM: To synthesize international findings on the alcohol-dementia relationship, including representation from low- and middle-income countries.

METHODS: Individual participant data meta-analysis of 15 prospective epidemiological cohort studies from countries situated in six continents. Cox regression investigated the dementia risk associated with alcohol use in older adults aged over 60 years. Additional analyses assessed the alcohol-dementia relationship in the sample stratified by sex and by continent. Participants included 24 478 community dwelling individuals without a history of dementia at baseline and at least one follow-up dementia assessment. The main outcome measure was all-cause dementia as determined by clinical interview.

RESULTS: At baseline, the mean age across studies was 71.8 (standard deviation = 7.5, range = 60-102 years), 14 260 (58.3%) were female and 13 269 (54.2%) were current drinkers. During 151 636 person-years of follow-up, there were 2124 incident cases of dementia (14.0 per 1000 person-years). When compared with abstainers, the risk for dementia was lower in occasional [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.78; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.68-0.89], light-moderate (HR = 0.78; 95% CI = 0.70-0.87) and moderate-heavy drinkers (HR = 0.62; 95% CI = 0.51-0.77). There was no evidence of differences between life-time abstainers and former drinkers in terms of dementia risk (HR = 0.98; 95% CI = 0.81-1.18). In dose-response analyses, moderate drinking up to 40 g/day was associated with a lower risk of dementia when compared with lif-time abstaining. Among current drinkers, there was no consistent evidence for differences in terms of dementia risk. Results were similar when the sample was stratified by sex. When analysed at the continent level, there was considerable heterogeneity in the alcohol-dementia relationship.

CONCLUSIONS: Abstinence from alcohol appears to be associated with an increased risk for all-cause dementia. Among current drinkers, there appears to be no consistent evidence to suggest that the amount of alcohol consumed in later life is associated with dementia risk.

26 August 2022 In Drinking Patterns

Older adults of today consume more alcohol, yet knowledge about the factors associated with different consumption levels is limited in this age group. Based on the data from a population-based sample (n = 1156, 539 men and 617 women) in The Gothenburg H70 Birth Cohort Study 2014-16, we examined sociodemographic, social, and health-related factors associated with alcohol consumption levels in 70-year-olds, using logistic regression. Total weekly alcohol intake was calculated based on the self-reported amount of alcohol consumed.

Alcohol consumption was categorized as lifetime abstention, former drinking, moderate consumption (98 g/week). At-risk consumption was further categorized into lower at-risk (98-196 g/week), medium at-risk (196-350 g/week), and higher at-risk (>/=350 g/week). We found that among the 1156 participants, 3% were lifetime abstainers, 3% were former drinkers, 64% were moderate drinkers, and 30% were at-risk drinkers (20% lower, 8% medium, 2% higher).

Among several factors, former drinking was associated with worse general self-rated health (OR 1.65, 95% CI 1.08-2.51) and lower health-related quality of life (measured by physical component score) (OR 0.94, 95% CI 0.91-0.97), higher illness burden (OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.07-1.27), and weaker grip strength (OR 0.96, 95% CI 0.94-0.98). Higher at-risk drinkers more often had liver disease (OR 11.41, 95% CI 3.48-37.37) and minor depression (OR 4.57, 95% CI 1.40-14.95), but less contacts with health care (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.11-0.92).

Our findings demonstrate the importance of classifications beyond abstinence and at-risk consumption, with implications for both the prevention and clinical management of unhealthy consumption patterns in older adults.

15 June 2022 In Drinking Patterns

AIMS: To examine the association of alcohol consumption patterns with growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15) in older drinkers, separately among individuals with cardiovascular disease (CVD)/diabetes and those without them, as GDF-15 is a strong biomarker of chronic disease burden.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Population-based study in Madrid (Spain). PARTICIPANTS: A total of 2051 life-time drinkers aged 65+ years included in the Seniors-ENRICA-2 study in 2015-17. Participants' mean age was 71.4 years and 55.4% were men.

MEASUREMENTS: According to their average life-time alcohol intake, participants were classified as occasional ( 1.43-20 g/day; women: > 1.43-10 g/day), moderate-risk (men: > 20-40 g/day; women: > 10-20 g/day) and high-risk drinkers (men: > 40 g/day; women: > 20 g/day; or binge drinkers). We also ascertained wine preference (> 80% of alcohol derived from wine), drinking with meals and adherence to a Mediterranean drinking pattern (MDP) defined as low-risk drinking, wine preference and one of the following: drinking only with meals; higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet; or any of these.

FINDINGS: In participants without CVD/diabetes, GDF-15 increased by 0.27% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.06%, 0.48%] per 1 g/day increment in alcohol among high-risk drinkers, but there was no clear evidence of association in those with lower intakes or in the overall group, or across categories of alcohol consumption status. Conversely, among those with CVD/diabetes, GDF-15 rose by 0.19% (95% CI = 0.05%, 0.33%) per 1 g/day increment in the overall group and GDF-15 was 26.89% (95% CI = 12.93%, 42.58%) higher in high-risk versus low-risk drinkers. Drinking with meals did not appear to be related to GDF-15, but among those without CVD/diabetes, wine preference and adherence to the MDP were associated with lower GDF-15, especially when combined with high adherence to the Mediterranean diet.

CONCLUSIONS: Among older life-time drinkers in Madrid, Spain, high-risk drinking was positively associated with growth differentiation factor 15 (a biomarker of chronic disease burden). There was inconclusive evidence of a beneficial association for low-risk consumption.

28 April 2022 In Dementia

BACKGROUND: Dementia indicates a significant disease burden worldwide with increased population aging. This study aimed to investigate the impact of alcohol consumption on the risk of cognitive impairment in older adults.

METHODS: Participants >/= 60 years were administered the Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST) to evaluate cognitive function in National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) cycles from 1999 to 2002 and 2011 to 2014 for enrollment in the present study. Participants were categorized into non-drinker, drinker, and heavy drinker groups. Logistic regression analyses were performed to explore associations between cognitive impairment and alcohol consumption.

RESULTS: Multivariate analysis showed that older adults, men, people from minority races, persons with lower education or income levels, social difficulties, hypertension, or chronic kidney disease were significantly associated with a higher risk of cognitive impairment (all p < 0.05). In the young old (60-69 years), heavy amount of alcohol drinking was significantly associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment compared with drinkers [adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 0.280, 95% Confidence interval (CI) 0.095-0.826]. But in the middle old persons (>/= 70 years), heavy alcohol drinking was associated with higher risk of cognitive impairment (aOR: 2.929, 95% CI 0.624-13.74).

CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated that light to heavy drinking was associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment in participants aged between 60 and 69 years, but caution is needed in the middle old people with heavy alcohol drinking.

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