Alcohol effects on cognitive change in middle-aged and older adults

Faika Zanjani, Brian Downer, Tina M. Kruger, Sherry L. Willis, K. Warner Schaie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: This study examines cognitive outcomes for alcohol drinking status over time, across cognitive ability and age groups. Methods: Data (1998-2005) from n = 571 Seattle Longitudinal Study participants aged 45+years (middle-aged: 45-64, young-old: 65-75, old-old: 75+) were analyzed to examine the alcohol drinking status effect (e.g., abstinent, moderate (less than seven drinks/week), at-risk (more than eight drinks/week)) on cognitive ability (e.g., memory, reasoning, spatial, verbal number, speed abilities). Results: Findings indicated that alcohol drinking status was associated with change in verbal ability, spatial ability, and perceptual speed. Decline in verbal ability was seen among alcohol abstainers and moderate alcohol consumers, but at-risk drinkers displayed relative stability. At-risk old-old adults and middle-aged adults (regardless of drinking status), displayed relative stability in spatial ability. Decline in spatial ability was however present among young-old adults across drinking status, and among abstaining and moderate drinking old-old adults. At-risk drinkers showed the most positive spatial ability trajectory. A gender effect in perceptual speed was detected, with women who abstained from drinking displaying the most decline in perceptual speed compared with women that regularly consumed alcohol, and men displaying decline in perceptual speed across drinking status. Discussion: In this study, consuming alcohol is indicative of cognitive stability. This conclusion should be considered cautiously, due to study bias created from survivor effects, analyzing two time points, health/medication change status, and overrepresentation of higher socioeconomic status and white populations in this study. Future research needs to design studies that can make concrete recommendations about the relationship between drinking status and cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-23
Number of pages12
JournalAging and Mental Health
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

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Aptitude
Drinking
Alcohols
Alcohol Drinking
Social Class
Cognition
Longitudinal Studies
Survivors
Young Adult
Age Groups
Spatial Navigation
Health
Population

Keywords

  • aging
  • alcohol
  • cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Gerontology
  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Alcohol effects on cognitive change in middle-aged and older adults. / Zanjani, Faika; Downer, Brian; Kruger, Tina M.; Willis, Sherry L.; Schaie, K. Warner.

In: Aging and Mental Health, Vol. 17, No. 1, 01.01.2013, p. 12-23.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Zanjani, Faika ; Downer, Brian ; Kruger, Tina M. ; Willis, Sherry L. ; Schaie, K. Warner. / Alcohol effects on cognitive change in middle-aged and older adults. In: Aging and Mental Health. 2013 ; Vol. 17, No. 1. pp. 12-23.
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