Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Moderate alcohol intake may reduce risk of dementia in older women

24.01.2005


Older women who drink a moderate amount of alcohol each day may be helping to keep their minds sharp, according to researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues.



"In our study, older women who drank moderate amounts of alcohol tended to perform better on tests for cognitive function and dementia," said Mark Espeland, Ph.D., lead researcher. "Most of these women drank one or two drinks per day."

The researchers used data from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study, a large national study to assess the effects of hormone therapy on dementia and cognitive function. As part of the study, women reported how much alcohol they drank daily.


The research, which will be reported in the February 1 issue (Vol. 161, pages 228-38) of the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that women who reported having one or more alcohol drinks daily scored higher on tests of cognitive function than women who reported drinking less. Cognitive function includes concentration, language, memory and abstract reasoning. "Women who reported drinking one or more drinks a day had a 40 percent lower risk of significant declines in cognitive function over time, compared to women who reported no alcohol intake," said Espeland, a professor of public health sciences.

The researchers followed 4,461 women aged 65 to 79 years for an average of 4.2 years with annual Modified Mini-Mental State Examinations (MMSE), which is a measure of cognitive function, and other tests to detect mild cognitive impairment and probable dementia. Dementia occurs when memory, judgment and thinking ability decline substantially to the point of interfering with basic day-to-day activities. "There are a number of reasons one might expect moderate alcohol intake to be beneficial," Espeland says. "Some cognitive problems are due to strokes and blood vessels in the brain becoming blocked, and alcohol may reduce the development of blood clots and increase blood flow, thereby improving cognition."

Espeland said alcohol also tends to increase levels of high-density lipoprotein, or "good" cholesterol, which might also reduce the risk for narrowed vessels in the brain. In addition, alcohol may decrease the formation of plaque that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Previous studies have also indicated that moderate levels of alcohol intake reduce the risk of dementia and decline in cognitive function. Espeland said, however, that the results must be interpreted with caution. "While evidence is growing that alcohol is beneficial in this area, it is still unclear whether alcohol intake or another defining characteristic is the reason for reduced risk," he said.

The researchers adjusted for other factors that might affect the results, such as education level and family income, and still found the same pattern of moderate alcohol intake associated with better cognitive function and less risk of dementia. "But we cannot rule out that unmeasured factors affected cognition," he said. "My sense is that for older women who choose to drink – and are not restricted from drinking for medical reasons – moderate alcohol intake is not harmful for cognition and may provide some benefits by reducing the risk of cognitive decline. "Until we better understand the reasons why alcohol consumption is associated with better cognitive functioning, however, these results on their own are not a reason for people who don’t drink to start or for those who drink less to increase their intake."

Espeland’s co-researchers were Lin Gu, M.S., Laura Coker, Ph.D., and Stephen R. Rapp, Ph.D., also from Wake Forest Baptist, Kamal H. Masaki, M.D., from the University of Hawaii, Robert D. Langer, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, Marcia L. Stefanick, Ph.D., from Stanford University School of Medicine, and Judith Ockene, Ph.D., from the University of Massachusetts.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Improving memory with magnets
28.03.2017 | McGill University

nachricht Graphene-based neural probes probe brain activity in high resolution
28.03.2017 | Graphene Flagship

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>