March 6, 2009
Older adults more impaired after alcohol
People age 50 and older performed worse on special tests after having moderate amounts of alcohol, but they did not know it, U.S. researchers said.
The University of Florida researchers said that although people 50 or older in the study metabolized alcohol similar to how younger people did, they performed worse on special tests after having moderate amounts of alcohol and did not always realize when they were impaired.The study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, found soon after having alcohol, older adults also took on average five seconds longer to complete a test than their counterparts who did not have a drink.
That doesn't sound like much, but five seconds is a big difference if you're in a car and need to apply the brakes, lead author Sara Jo Nixon of the University of Florida's McKnight Brain Institute said in a statement.
It can mean the difference between a wreck, and not-a-wreck.
The study involved 68 non-smokers -- one group age 50-74 and a comparison group aged 25-35 -- who had at least one drink a month. Within each group, some individuals were given alcohol while others were given a placebo beverage that did not elevate their breath alcohol levels.