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 16 January 2018

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News

Alcohol consumption and risk of dementia in older adults

Consumption of 1 to 6 drinks weekly is associated with a lower risk of incident dementia among older adults, finds researchers in this week's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

News image

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Alcohol consumption has been associated with complex changes in cerebral vasculature and structure in older adults. However, how alcohol consumption affects the incidence of dementia is less clear.

In this study, researchers from the United States determined the prospective relationship of alcohol consumption and risk of dementia among older adults.

The team performed a nested case-control study of 373 cases with incident dementia and 373 controls. Participants were selected from 5888 adults aged 65 years or more who participated in a prospective, population-based cohort study in 4 US communities.

Greater odds of dementia with heavier alcohol consumption was most apparent in men.
Journal of the American Medical Association

The controls were frequency-matched on age, death before 1999, and their attendance of a 1998-1999 clinic.

The research team performed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and cognitive testing, between 1992 and 1994, in order to assess subjects. Participants were then followed-up until 1999.

The team determined odds of incident dementia, ascertained by detailed neurological and neuropsychological examinations according to average alcohol consumption.

Participants assessed alcohol consumption by self-reported intake of beer, wine, and liquor at 2 visits prior to the MRI.

The team found that, compared with abstention, the adjusted odds for dementia among those whose weekly alcohol consumption was less than 1 drink were 0.65, 1 to 6 drinks 0.46, 7 to 13 drinks 0.69, and 14 or more drinks 1.22.

They determined that the trend toward greater odds of dementia with heavier alcohol consumption was most apparent in men, and participants with an apolipoprotein E 4 allele.

In addition, the team found similar relationships of alcohol use with Alzheimer disease and vascular dementia.

Dr Kenneth Mukamal's team concluded, "Compared with abstention, consumption of 1 to 6 drinks weekly is associated with a lower risk of incident dementia among older adults".

JAMA 2003; 289(11): 1405-13
21 March 2003

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