Happy Hour

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOlder adults who enjoy a glass of beer or wine several nights a week, may be more likely to grow old without dementia or other cognitive impairments. That comes from a new study just released by the University of California San Diego School of Medicine.

From MedicalNewsToday.com:

A new study led by scientists from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine in La Jolla has now found a correlation between moderate drinking on a regular basis and prolonged cognitive health, as well as longevity.

Senior study author Dr. Linda McEvoy explains that their research is, as far as they are aware, the first of its kind; it specifically takes into account the frequency of alcohol intake in an older population.

“This study is unique because we considered men and women’s cognitive health at late age and found that alcohol consumption is not only associated with reduced mortality, but with greater chances of remaining cognitively healthy into older age,” she says.

According to Science Daily, “In particular, the researchers found that among men and women 85 and older, individuals who consumed “moderate to heavy” amounts of alcohol five to seven days a week were twice as likely to be cognitively healthy than non-drinkers. Cognitive health was assessed every four years over the course of the 29-year study, using a standard dementia screening test known as the Mini Mental State Examination.”

The San Diego Union Tribune pointed out how researchers defined moderate to heavy drinking.

In a statement, the university said that, “By its (federal) definition, moderate drinking involves consuming up to one alcoholic beverage a day for adult women of any age and men aged 65 and older; and up to two drinks a day for adult men under age 65.

“Heavy drinking is defined as up to three alcoholic beverages per day for women of any adult age and men 65 and older; and four drinks a day for adult men under 65. Drinking more than these amounts is categorized as excessive.”

A second recent study suggests that drinking alcohol three to four times per week is associated with a lower risk of diabetes compared with drinking less than one day a week.

From Reuters News Agency:

When researchers looked at people who drank they same total amount of alcohol, they found that men who spread those drinks over three to four days of the week were 27 percent less likely to develop diabetes than guys who downed all their shots and beers in one sitting.

Women, meanwhile, had 32 percent lower odds of diabetes when they spread their cocktails over several days instead of a single happy hour.

Before you head out to toast this new research….the Washington Times pointed out that a recent study in the British Medical Journal warned – “even moderate consumption of alcohol can cause brain damage. (Researchers) urged caution toward studies reporting health benefits of moderate drinking, saying the general public must pay attention to those studies’ limitations before accepting their results.”

Share your thoughts on whether you believe moderate to heavy drinking can be a health benefit or if you feel it could cause health problems. Posing these types of questions and driving dialogue around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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