LOS ANGELES (CBS LOCAL) — Moderate to heavy alcohol drinkers are more likely to reach age 85 without developing dementia and similar cognitive issues when compared to non-drinkers, according to a new study from the University of California, San Diego.
The research is the latest in a series of studies that observe how factors like genetics, diet and the environment impact the development of dementia.
“Moderate and heavy drinkers had 2-fold higher odds of living to age 85 without cognitive impairment relative to non-drinkers,” the study says.
Moderate drinking is characterized by consuming up to one alcoholic beverage daily for adult women of any age, as well as men aged 65 and older, according to a UC San Diego statement.
Heavy drinking is defined as up to three alcoholic beverages daily for all adult women, and men aged 65 and older, the statement says. The label also applies to adult men younger than 65 who consume four drinks daily. Excessive drinking occurs when an alcohol drinker consumes more than these amounts.
“[The study] does not suggest drinking is responsible for increased longevity and cognitive health,” UC San Diego said. “Alcohol consumption, particularly wine, is associated with higher incomes and education levels, which in turn are associated with lower rates of smoking, lower rates of mental illness and better access to health care.”
The study was primarily based on middle-class white men and women from Rancho Bernardo, a community in California’s North County. UC San Diego examined 1,344 older adults between 1984 and 2013, and all participants had at least some college education, university officials said.