Background: Moderate alcohol intake may slow cognitive decline, and both vascular and neurodegenerative mechanisms have been implicated. Methods: We examined reported alcohol intake and cognitive decline in a community-based cohort of Hispanic, black and white individuals (n = 1,428). The role of the apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOE4) allele as a modifier was also studied. Results and Conclusions: Reported drinking was as follows: 300 participants (21%) were ‘never’ drinkers, 622 (44%) ‘past’ drinkers, 145 (10%) reported taking less than 1 drink weekly, 330 (23%) 1 drink weekly up to 2 daily and 31 (2%) more than 2 drinks daily. A positive relationship was seen between reported alcohol intake and cognition. Drinking less than 1 drink a week (p = 0.09), between 1 drink weekly up to 2 drinks daily (p = 0.001) and more than 2 drinks daily (p = 0.003) were associated with less cognitive decline on the modified Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status compared to never drinkers. This dose-response relationship was not modified by the presence of an APOE4 allele in a subsample.
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