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Alcohol consumption and midlife cognitive change in the British 1946 birth cohort study

Richards, M; Hardy, R; Wadsworth, MEJ; (2005) Alcohol consumption and midlife cognitive change in the British 1946 birth cohort study. ALCOHOL ALCOHOLISM , 40 (2) 112 - 117. 10.1093/alcalc/agh126.

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Abstract

Aims: Cross-sectional studies suggest that alcohol consumption benefits cognitive function. However, more longitudinal studies are required to confirm that alcohol has an effect on cognitive change and to rule out the possibility that those of higher ability engage in a lifestyle that protects against cognitive decline. Methods: We investigated the association between self-reported alcohol consumption and change in memory, speed and concentration in midlife, in 903 men and 861 women enrolled in the MRC National Survey of Health and Development (the British 1946 birth cohort). Results: After controlling for educational attainment, occupational social class and general cognitive ability, it was found that alcohol consumption was associated with a slower memory decline from 43 to 53 years in men, but a more rapid decline in visual search speed for the same interval in women. These effects were not explained by a further control for health status (body water weight, smoking, exercise, cardio-respiratory disease and affective state). Conclusions: Our data suggest that alcohol consumption is associated with a slower memory decline. However, the negative association between alcohol and psychomotor function in women is a potential cause for concern.

Type: Article
Title: Alcohol consumption and midlife cognitive change in the British 1946 birth cohort study
DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agh126
Keywords: CORONARY-HEART-DISEASE, GENDER-DIFFERENCES, CIGARETTE-SMOKING, DRINKING, PERFORMANCE, HEALTH, ADULTS, WINE, POPULATION, MORBIDITY
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Behavioural Science and Health
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/40001
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