Light drinking might secure brain function
Study shows that for older people it might assist cognitive condition
Light to moderate drinking might maintain brain function in older age, according to a new research study.
The research study took a look at the link in between alcohol consumption and modifications in cognitive function in time amongst middle-aged and older adults in the U.S.
“We know there are some older people who believe that drinking a little wine everyday could maintain a good cognitive condition,” said lead author Ruiyuan Zhang, a doctoral student at UGA’s College of Public Health.
“We wanted to know if drinking a small amount of alcohol actually correlates with a good cognitive function, or is it just a kind of survivor bias.”
Regular, moderate alcohol intake has been shown to promote heart health and some research points to a similar protective benefit for brain health. However, a lot of these studies were not created to isolate the results of alcohol on cognition or did not measure effects gradually.
Zhang and his group established a method to track cognition performance over ten years utilizing participant data from the nationally representative Health and Retirement Research Study.
Throughout the study, an overall of 19,887 participants completed surveys every two years about their health and lifestyle, including concerns on drinking routines. Light to moderate drinking is specified as fewer than eight drinks weekly for women and 15 drinks or fewer each week amongst males.
These individuals likewise had their cognitive function determined in a series of tests taking a look at their total mental status, word recall and vocabulary. Their test outcomes were combined to form an overall cognitive score.
Zhang and his coworkers looked at how individuals performed on these cognitive tests throughout the research study and categorized their performance as high or low trajectories, indicating their cognitive function stayed high in time or started to decrease.
Compared to nondrinkers, they found that those who had a drink or more a day tended to perform much better on cognitive tests over time.
Even when other important factors known to effect cognition such as age, smoking cigarettes or education level were managed for, they saw a pattern of light drinking associated with high cognitive trajectories.
The optimal amount of drinks each week was in between 10 and 14 beverages. But that doesn’t suggest those who consume less ought to begin indulging more, states Zhang.
“It is hard to say this effect is causal,” he said. “So, if some people don’t drink alcoholic beverages, this study does not encourage them to drink to prevent cognitive function decline.”
Also of note, the association was stronger amongst white individuals versus African American individuals, which is considerable, stated Zhang, and triggers additional expedition into the mechanisms of alcohol’s impact on cognition.