Latest scientific news 23 July 2015

Low-risk drinking in older adults shows favorable effects

Instead of concentrating on the average level of drinking, the current study focused on the drinking patterns when assessing the health risks.

The pattern of drinking, particularly heavy episodic drinking, has a significant influence on mortality. American scientists examined the combined roles of average drinking level (moderate vs. high) and drinking patterns (regular vs. heavy episodic) among late-life drinkers.

1,121 adults, aged 55-65 years participated in the study. The consumption of alcoholic beverages was assessed at baseline, and total mortality risk was indexed across 20 years. The results showed that a low-risk drinking pattern requires that older adults consume low to moderate average levels of alcoholic beverages and avoid heavy episodic drinking. Heavy episodic drinking seems to be frequent among late-middle-aged and older adults and together with average consumption should be addressed in order to understand the health risks of late-life drinkers.

Holahan CJ, Schutte KK, Brennan PL, Holahan CK, Moos RH. Drinking Level, Drinking Pattern, and Twenty-Year Total Mortality Among Late-Life Drinkers. J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2015 Jul;76(4):552-8.

For more information about this article, read the scientific abstract here.