Moderate Alcohol Drinking Reduces Cognitive Decline among Elderly

Moderate alcohol consumption was found to be associated with lower cognitive and functional impairment (CFI) and dementia compared to abstaining from alcoholic beverages among elderly Brazilians.

The community-based cross-sectional study used a sample of 1,145 elderly Brazilians whose alcohol consumption was examined in relation to both CFI and dementia.

The association between moderate alcohol consumption and better cognitive abilities among elderly persons has been widely reported by other researchers.

In addition to being associated with better cognition and lower dementia, the moderate consumption of alcohol is also associated with better health in general and greater longevity. Beer, wine, and liquor or distilled spirits are equally beneficial.

Standard drinks of beer, wine and distilled spirits contain an equivalent amount of alcohol. A standard drink refers to:

They're all the same to a breathalyzer as well as to both better health and longer life. For more, visit Standard Drinks.

Note: This website does not make alcohol, health or medical recommendations and none should be inferred.


  • Lopes, M.A., et al. Prevalence of Alcohol-Related Problems in an Elderly Population and Their Association With Cognitive Impairment and Dementia. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2010. PMID 20102571.

Readings on Alcohol and Cognition, Memory, Dementia, and Alzheimer's Disease:

  • Anstey, K.J., et al. Alcohol consumption as a risk factor for dementia and cognitive decline: meta-analysis of prospective studies. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2009, 17(7), 542-555.
  • Anstey, K. J., et al. Lower cognitive test scores observed in alcohol are associated with demographic, personality, and biological factors: The PATH Through Life Project. Addiction, 2005, 100(9), 1291-1301.
  • Espeland, M., et al. Association between alcohol intake and domain-specific cognitive function in older women. Neuroepidemiology, 2006, 1(27), 1-12.
  • Ganguli, M., et al. Alcohol consumption and cognitive function in late life: A longitudinal community study. Neurology, 2005, 65, 1210-12-17.
  • Huang, W., et al. Alcohol consumption and incidence of dementia in a community sample aged 75 years and older. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 55(10), 959-964
  • Kalev-Zylinska, Maggie L. and During, Matthew J. Paradoxical facilitatory effect of low-dose alcohol consumption on memory mediated by NMDA receptors. Journal of Neuroscience, 2007, 27, 10456-10467.
  • Mulkamal, K.J., et al. Prospective study of alcohol consumption and risk of dementia in older adults. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2003 (March 19), 289, 1405-1413.
  • Rodgers, B., et al. Non-linear relationships between cognitive function and alcohol consumption in young, middle-aged and older adults: The PATH Through Life Project. Addiction, 2005, 100(9), 1280-1290.
  • Ruitenberg, A., et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of dementia: the Rotterdam Study. Lancet, 2002, 359(9303), 281-286.
  • Solfrizzi, Vencenzo et al. Alcohol consumption, mild cognitive impairment, and progression to dementia. Neurology, 2007, 68(2).
  • Stampfer, M.J., et al. Effects of moderate alcohol consumption on cognitive function in women. New England Journal of Medicine, 2005, 352, 245-253.
  • USF researchers focus on strategies to reduce dementia risks. University of South Florida report, August 9, 2005.


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