29 August 2009

New study looks at effects of later life moderate drinking

Drinking ‘almost halves dementia risk’
AAP via Yahoo News: 27 August 2009
The systematic review and meta-analysis by Prof. Kaarin Anstey of the Center for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University, investigated the relationships between alcohol consumption and dementia and cognitive decline. > read story and view video clip

Related journal article: Alcohol consumption as a risk factor for dementia and cognitive decline – meta-analysis of prospective studies American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2009, 17(7): 542-555

Study conclusions: We conclude that light to moderate alcohol consumption in older adults is associated with reduced risk of dementia. Further research is required to clarify the mechanisms underlying the observed association between alcohol and brain function, to determine how this may be affected by cardiovascular disease. Importantly, further research is required to determine whether the results reported here will remain over longer follow-up intervals and how alcohol consumption (including binge drinking) in early and midlife affects later dementia risk. Finally, the extent to which alcohol consumption interacts with other risk factors such as apolipoprotein E to moderate dementia risk needs to be evaluated before making recommendations on alcohol consumption to protect against dementia in the population. The clinical implications of this review are that low levels of alcohol may be beneficial for cognitive function in late life. However, these findings do not address broader potential adverse drinking outcomes associated with other clinical conditions or medication use. Hence, the overall safety of alcohol use in later life needs to be evaluated in relation to all of the available evidence regarding its associations with health and disease outcomes.

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