Drinkers can rejoice as a recent study has revealed older adults who consume alcohol moderately on a regular basis are more likely to reach the age of 85 without developing dementia. The study was conducted over a period of 29 years by the University of California San Diego (UC San Diego).
The study, published in the August issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, is the first of its kind, according to lead author Dr Linda McEvoy. “This study is unique because we considered men and women’s cognitive health at late age and found that alcohol consumption is not only associated with reduced mortality, but with greater chances of remaining cognitively healthy into older age.” he said.
Among men and women aged 85 and older, those who drank “moderate to heavy” amount of alcohol five to seven days a week were said to have healthier cognition as compared to those who did not drink, as per the study.
The guidelines for drinking are categorized by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as moderate, heavy and excessive using gender and age-specific aspects. For instance, in women and men aged 65 and above, moderate drinkers are those who consume up to one alcoholic beverage per day; for men aged 65 and under, two drinks a day are considered as moderate drinking. Heavy drinkers, among women of any adult age, and men aged 65 and older are those who drink three alcoholic beverages a day. For heavy drinkers among men under age of 65, it is four drinks a day. Anybody drinking more than this is referred to as excessive drinker.
The researchers have, however, warned excessive consumption of alcohol can cause alcohol-related dementia.
For the study, the researchers tracked data from 1,334 elderly adults residing in a specific region of San Diego County — Rancho Bernado, a white-collar, middle-to-upper-middle-class suburb — between 1984 and 2013. Among the participants, 728 were women and 616 were men with 99 percent being white people with some college education. While the alcohol intake was assessed by questionnaire from 1984 to 1987, cognitive function was assessed in approximate four-year intervals between 1988 and 2009.
“This study shows that moderate drinking may be part of a healthy lifestyle to maintain cognitive fitness in aging,” said co-author Erin Richard, a graduate student in the Joint San Diego State…