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Binge drinking increases the risk of cognitive decline in older adults
Date:7/18/2012

Researchers from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (PCMD), University of Exeter, will present the findings of a new study suggesting a link between binge drinking in older adults and the risk of developing dementia.

The findings are to be presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2012, the world's largest gathering of dementia researchers, in Vancouver, Canada on 18th July 2012. The work is supported by the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care in the South West Peninsula (NIHR PenCLAHRC).

Little is known about the cognitive effects of binge drinking in older people, which led the PCMD research team to investigate. Dr. Iain Lang from PCMD, who led the study, said: "We know binge drinking can be harmful: it can increase the risk of harm to the cardiovascular system, including the chance of developing heart disease; and it is related to an increased risk of both intentional and unintentional injuries. However, until we conducted our study it was not clear what the effect was of binge drinking on cognitive function and the risk of developing dementia."

The research team analysed data from 5,075 participants aged 65 and older in the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), a biennial, longitudinal, nationally representative survey of U.S. adults, to assess the effects of binge drinking in older people on their function. Initial data were collected in 2002 and participants were followed for eight years. Consumption of four or more drinks on one occasion was considered binge drinking. Cognitive function and memory were assessed using the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status.

The research showed binge drinking once a month or more was reported by 8.3 per cent of men and 1.5 per cent of women; binge drinking twice a month or more was reported by 4.3 per cent of men and 0.5 per cent of women.

The researchers found that: <
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Contact: Andrew Gould
andrew.gould@pcmd.ac.uk
44-188-438-346
The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry
Source:Eurekalert

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