NEW ORLEANS — The JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) Network Open reported in September of 2019 that, “given the rapidly growing burden of Alzheimer disease (AD) and other dementias, including 50 million people currently living with dementia and 82 million expected by 2030, the identification of factors that prevent or delay the onset of dementia remains of paramount concern.”
It’s been previously known that adverse effects on cognitive performance occur with long-term, excessive drinking. It’s also known that an episodic drinking pattern, with high volumes of alcohol, increases dementia risk in certain segments of the population, while the APOE E4 allele (gene) may also be a factor in dementia risk with alcohol consumption.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says that healthy adults 65 and older should not consume more than 3 drinks in a day or 7 drinks in a week.
Researchers from the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts and the Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington in Seattle, used data from the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study, conducted from 2000 to 2008 among US community-dwelling participants, who reported at the baseline visit, their frequency of beer, wine, and liquor consumption in days per week and their usual number of 12-oz cans or bottles of beer, 6-oz glasses of wine, and shots of liquor consumed on each occasion.
This study analyzed 3021 participants aged 72 years and older, who were free of dementia. Each participant underwent a comprehensive neuropsychological battery of 10 tests, during the study screening.
Between 2000 and 2008, the Modified Mini-Mental State Examination (3MSE) and the Clinical Dementia Rating scale were administered every 6 months through the end of follow-up, death, or dementia diagnosis, whichever occurred first.
Relative to older adults, the researchers determined that, “the association of self-reported alcohol consumption with dementia risk appeared to cluster into 3 separate dimensions—baseline cognition, dose, and pattern.”
For those individuals without MCI (mild cognitive impairment) at baseline, “daily low-quantity drinking was associated with lower dementia risk than infrequent higher-quantity drinking.”
People that experienced MCI, who consumed more than 14.0 drinks per week, had the most severe cognitive decline, compared with consumers of less than 1.0 drink per week.
It was concluded that, “these results suggest that, while caring for older adults, physicians should carefully assess the full dimensions of drinking behavior and cognition, when providing guidance to patients about alcohol consumption.”
As Buddha said, “be moderate in all things,” including alcohol consumption.