Moderate alcohol use and apolipoprotein E-4 (ApoE-4): Independent effects on cognitive outcomes in later life.

TitleModerate alcohol use and apolipoprotein E-4 (ApoE-4): Independent effects on cognitive outcomes in later life.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsHerring, D, Paulson, D
JournalJournal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
ISSN Number1744-411X
KeywordsAlcohol Consumption, APoE4, Cognitive Ability

OBJECTIVES: Substantive past research suggests that moderate alcohol use confers beneficial health outcomes. The study of moderate alcohol use and cognition has produced variable findings. The primary goal was to examine the relationship between alcohol use and cognitive aging over time (Experiment 1), in a demographically representative, longitudinal survey of older adults. Experiment 2 examined the hypothesis that apolipoprotein E-4 (ApoE-4) would moderate the relationship between moderate drinking and performance on cognitive domains.

METHOD: The sample was drawn from the Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study (ADAMS) supplement of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) and included 856 participants over age 65 in 2001. Follow-up data were from 2002, 2006, and 2008. Alcohol use was measured via self-report. Control variables included gender, age, race, number of years of education, medical burden (total number of medical diseases), and marital status.

RESULTS: Results of Experiment 1 indicated that moderate alcohol use was significantly associated with better baseline functioning across cognitive measures (p ≤ .05), but had no significant effect on rate of change over time across cognitive domains. Results of Experiment 2 indicated that while ApoE-4 carriage did not moderate the relationship between alcohol use and cognitive performance, generally, both ApoE-4 and moderate alcohol use were significant predictors of cognitive performance.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, findings from this study support past findings that moderate alcohol use is associated with better cognitive functioning among community-dwelling older adults, and these relative benefits appear to persist throughout later life. However, the role of individual differences on manifestation of benefit remain very poorly understood. Future research should further examine the respective roles of demographic differences associated with cognitive aging, genetic moderators, and the influence of social interaction.

User Guide Notes

Alternate JournalJ Clin Exp Neuropsychol
Citation Key9254
PubMed ID28659024