December 19, 2008
Older women, not men, benefit from alcohol
Drinking low to moderate amounts of alcohol may delay cognitive decline in older women, a University of Glasgow researcher said.
The study of nearly 6,000 people ages 70-82 in Ireland, the Netherlands and Scotland found drinking low to moderate amounts of alcohol may delay cognitive decline in older women. However, the same benefits were not seen in men of the same age group.
David J. Stott of the University of Glasgow used the Mini-Mental State Examination as the method for assessment of general cognitive impairment. The benefits of alcohol consumption for women include overall cognition, speed of information processing and verbal memory.
During the 3.2-year follow-up period, cognitive performance was better for female drinkers than non-drinkers. The results for men remained constant or had no significant effects.
Most of the women in the study who had positive results consumed less than 10 units of alcohol per week. One unit of alcohol equals a half-pint of beer or a small glass of wine.
This study is published in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.