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Alcohol drinking in the elderly: Risks and benefits
Date:6/27/2011

ly not apply to all in this age group. Of more importance, the absolute risk for cardiovascular diseases increases markedly with age, and therefore the beneficial or protective effect of light to moderate drinking on cardiovascular diseases is greater in the elderly than in younger people.

Evidence is also accumulating that shows that the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia is lower among moderate drinkers than among abstainers. Neurodegenerative disorders are key causes of disability and death among elderly people. Epidemiological studies have suggested that moderate alcohol consumption, may reduce the incidence of certain age-related neurological disorders including Alzheimer's disease. Regular dietary intake of flavonoid-rich foods and/or beverages has been associated with 50% reduction in the risk of dementia, a preservation of cognitive performance with ageing,a delay in the onset of Alzheimer's disease and a reduction in the risk of developing Parkinson's disease.

Further, scientific data are consistent in demonstrating that quality of life is better and total mortality is lower among moderate drinkers than among abstainers. For example, analyses by Simons et al from a large population-based patient population in New South Wales demonstrated clearly that regular moderate alcohol consumption increases life span and quality of life for men up to 80 years of age and for women indefinitely.

In another paper, by Kirchner et al of almost 25,000 American adults over age 65 seen in primary care, those reporting between 8 and 14 drinks/week (A US drink is 14g, against 8g in the UK) did not differ significantly in their characteristics from drinkers consuming 1-7 drinks/week.. Heavier drinkers and binge drinkers did not do as well.

A particular interesting paper by White et al showed a direct dose-response relation between alcohol consumption and risk of death in women aged 16-54 and in men aged 16-34, whereas
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Contact: R. Curtis Ellison
ellison@bu.edu
508-333-1256
Boston University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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