Late-life alcohol consumption and cognitive function in elderly men

Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala University, Box 593, 751 24, Uppsala, Sweden, .
Age (Impact Factor: 3.45). 05/2013; 36(1). DOI: 10.1007/s11357-013-9538-7
Source: PubMed


Moderate alcohol consumption (one to two drinks per day) has been associated with better cognitive function and lower risk of developing dementia in the elderly. In light of alcohol's well-known neurotoxic properties, more evidence from well-controlled population-based studies is required. The objective of this study was to examine whether self-reported alcohol intake at age 70 is linked to cognitive function (assessed by trail making tests (TMTs) A and B, which are measures of attention, mental speed, and flexibility) in a population-based cohort consisting of 652 cognitively healthy elderly men. Linear regression models were used to assess both cross-sectional (i.e., age 70) and prospective (i.e., age 77) associations between alcohol intake and cognitive function. The analyses were adjusted for education, body mass index, energy intake, self-reported physical activity, smoking, a history of hypertension or diabetes, apolipoprotein E ε4 status, and cholesterol levels at the age of 70. Baseline data were obtained from 1990 to 1996. Self-reported alcohol intake (mean 6.9 ± 7.1 g/day) was associated with better performance on TMT-B at ages 70 and 77 (β = -0.87, p < 0.001). In contrast, alcohol intake was not predictive of the difference in performance on these tests between ages 70 and 77. Despite cross-sectional associations with performance in a test of executive functioning, moderate intake of alcohol was not linked to differences in cognitive performance between ages 70 and 77 in the present study. Thus, our findings do not support the view that daily moderate alcohol consumption is a recommendable strategy to slow cognitive aging in elderly populations.

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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE To analyze the prevalence of individuals at risk of dependence and its associated factors. METHODS The study was based on data from the Catalan Health Survey, Spain conducted in 2010 and 2011. Logistic regression models from a random sample of 3,842 individuals aged ≥ 15 years were used to classify individuals according to the state of their personal autonomy. Predictive models were proposed to identify indicators that helped distinguish dependent individuals from those at risk of dependence. Variables on health status, social support, and lifestyles were considered. RESULTS We found that 18.6% of the population presented a risk of dependence, especially after age 65. Compared with this group, individuals who reported dependence (11.0%) had difficulties performing activities of daily living and had to receive support to perform them. Habits such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and being sedentary were associated with a higher probability of dependence, particularly for women. CONCLUSIONS Difficulties in carrying out activities of daily living precede the onset of dependence. Preserving personal autonomy and function without receiving support appear to be a preventive factor. Adopting an active and healthy lifestyle helps reduce the risk of dependence.
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