Drinking alcohol after age 75 linked to lower risk of dementia

Updated: Mar 08, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

Washington: Alcohol consumption after the age of 75 is associated with lower risk of developing dementia, according to a new study.

3202 German individuals (75 plus) attending general practitioners , who were free of dementia were studied at baseline, were followed up 1.5 years and 3 years later by means of structured clinical interviews including detailed assessment of current alcohol consumption and DSM-IV dementia diagnoses.

Associations between alcohol consumption (in grams of ethanol), type of alcohol (wine, beer, mixed alcohol beverages) and incident dementia were examined using Cox proportional hazard models, controlling for several confounders.

There was good ascertainment of the development of dementia, even among subjects who died during follow up. Of 3,202 subjects free of dementia at baseline, 217 subjects met criteria for dementia during follow up.

Subjects consuming alcohol had approximately 30 pc less overall dementia and 40 pc less Alzheimer dementia than did non-drinking subjects. No significant differences were seen according to the type of alcoholic beverage consumed.

Overall, these results are similar to several previous studies in the very elderly and suggest that moderate drinking is associated with less dementia, even among individuals aged 75 years and older.