Latest scientific news 03 July 2020

Moderate drinking may improve mental decline in elderly adults

Studies examining the association of low to moderate drinking with various cognitive functions have yielded mixed findings. The current study investigated whether a relationship exists between low to moderate drinking of alcoholic beverages and cognitive function or changes in cognitive function from middle age to older age among US adults.

This prospective Health and Retirement Study counted almost 20.000 participants who were followed up for 9 years. The study participants (average age 62 years) were predominantly white and women. They were given cognitive tests and they were surveyed every other year for around 9 years. Low to moderate drinkers compared to abstainers had significantly higher cognition scores for mental status, word recall and vocabulary over time as well as a lower decline in these areas. Furthermore, weekly consumption of alcoholic beverages had U-shaped relationships with the cognitive functions assessed, witnessing the strongest associations with better cognitive functions at a dosage of 10 to 14 drinks per week for all participants.

Low to moderate drinking:

Women < 8 drinks/week

Men < 15 drinks/week

1 drink = 14 g of alcohol

Zhang R et al, 2020, Association of Low to Moderate Alcohol Drinking With Cognitive Functions From Middle to Older Age Among US Adults, JAMA Network Open. 2020;3(6):e207922. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.7922

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