Saturday, May 02, 2009

AGS: Older Adults Benefit From Moderate Alcohol Intake

One to two drinks a day associated with lower incidence of dementia in 75 and older

02 may 2009 -- Moderate alcohol intake, limited to eight to 14 drinks a week, is associated with lower incidence of dementia among older adults, according to a study presented at the 2009 Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Geriatrics Society, held from April 29 to May 2 in Chicago.
Deanna A. Mangieri, D.O., of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues conducted a study of 3,069 community-dwelling adults aged 75 years and over who were participants in the Gingko Evaluation of Memory Study. The subjects were tested and 2,587 classified as cognitively normal, while 482 had mild cognitive impairment and there were 523 incident cases of dementia.

The subjects self reported their level of weekly alcohol consumption with 42.6 percent reporting none, 38.2 percent reporting one to seven drinks, 9.4 percent consuming eight to 14 drinks, and 9.8 percent reporting more than 14 drinks a week. Moderate drinkers had 40 percent lower incidence of dementia among cognitively normal subjects but not among those with mild cognitive impairment, and among this group, heavy drinkers were more likely to progress to dementia, the researchers found.

"In mild cognitive impairment, alcohol does not appear beneficial and heavy use is associated with greater risk of progression to dementia," the authors write. "Recommendations not to exceed two drinks a day are supported by these data."

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