Page last updated: June 2019
Adult-life alcohol consumption and age-related cognitive decline from early adulthood to late midlife

A recent study examined association between alcohol consumption and cognitive functioning controlling for functional heath status in Frenchspeaking community living older adults.

A total of 1610 older adults with a score >/= 26 on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) were followed to assess the change in scores at the 3-year follow-up. Information on alcohol consumption as well as socio-demographic, lifestyle, psychosocial and clinical factors and health service use were assessed at baseline and 3-year follow-up interviews.

Close to 73% reported consuming alcohol in the past 6 months, of which 11% were heavy drinkers (>/= 11 and >/= 16 drinks per week for women and men). A significant decrease in MMSE scores was observed in low functioning non-drinkers (-1.48; 95% CI: -2.06, -0.89) and light to moderate drinkers (-0.99; 95% CI: -1.54, -0.44) and high functioning non-drinkers (-0.51; 95% CI: -0.91, -0.10).

The authors conclude that alcohol consumption did not contribute to cognitive decline. Cognitive decline was greater in individuals reporting low functional status. Research should focus on the interaction between changing patterns of alcohol consumption and social participation in individuals with low and high functioning status.

Source: Cognitive decline and alcohol consumption adjusting for functional status over a 3-year period in French speaking community living older adults. Helen-Maria Vasiliadis, Marie-Christine Payette, Djamal Berbiche, Sébastien Grenier, Carol Hudon. Journal of Public Health, published early online 19 July 2018.


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