Study Finds Alcohol Consumption Associated with Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment

Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019
A recent study published in JAMA Network Open revealed that physicians need to monitor older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and their drinking habits.

The objective of this study was to assess the association between alcohol consumption and dementia, in addition to the roles of MCI and apoliprotein E4 (APOE E4) genotypes. The study was conducted from 2000 to 2008, analyzing 3,021 participants aged 72 years and older. The participants were free of dementia. Data analysis was performed from 2017 to 2018.

During a median follow-up of six years, 512 cases of dementia occurred. The hazard ratios for dementia were 0.63 among 2,548 participants without MCI and 0.93 among 473 participants with MCI. This data was associated with 7.1 to 14.0 drinks per week compared with less than 1.0 drink per week.

For participants with MCI, the hazard ratio for dementia was 1.72 for more than 14.0 drinks per week, compared with less than 1.0 drink per week. The alcohol intake with dementia relationship differed for participants with and without baseline MCI. Participants without MCI had a lower dementia risk associated with daily low-quantity drinking. When classified by sex, age, and APOE E4 genotypes, findings were consistent.

In comparison with drinking less than 1.0 drink per week, complete abstention in participants without MCI and the consumption of more than 14.0 drinks per week in participants with MCI were associated with lower Modified Mini-Mental State Examination scores.

In conclusion, caution is needed among individuals with MCI who continue to drink alcohol.

Koch M, Fitzpatrick AL, Rapp SR, et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of dementia and cognitive decline among older adults with or without mild cognitive impairment. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(9):e1910319. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.10319.

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