Non-linear relationships between cognitive function and alcohol consumption in young, middle-aged and older adults: the PATH Through Life Project.
AIMS: To investigate associations, including non-linear relationships, between cognitive function and alcohol consumption, testing for moderating effects of age and gender and for differences across outcome measures. Design Cross-sectional general population samples of three age cohorts. Setting Canberra and Queanbeyan, Australia. PARTICIPANTS: The total sample of 7485 consisted of 2404 men and women aged 20-24 years, 2530 aged 40-44 years, and 2551 aged 60-64 years, selected from the electoral rolls. Measurements Self-report data using hand-held computers provided weekly alcohol consumption from the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) frequency, quantity and binge-drinking items, and socio-demographic factors. Spot-the-Word, digits backwards, the Symbol-Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), immediate recall and reaction-time tests were conducted by trained interviewers. FINDINGS: Findings varied across dependent variables, but there was a general tendency for light drinkers (up to 20/10 g alcohol per day in men/women, respectively) to perform better than abstainers, occasional drinkers or those drinking at hazardous/harmful levels (>40/20 g per day in men/women). Poorer performance of hazardous/harmful drinkers was seen only in men, whereas that of abstainers was evident in both sexes but was stronger in women. After adjustment for education and race, male hazardous/harmful drinkers no longer performed significantly less well than light drinkers, whereas male and female abstainers and occasional drinkers still did so. CONCLUSIONS: Abstainers have poorer cognitive function than light drinkers and further investigation is needed to determine what factors contribute to this.
Rodgers, B; Windsor, TD; Anstey, KJ; Dear, KBG; F Jorm, A; Christensen, H
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