The effects of wine and tobacco consumption on cognitive performance in the elderly: a longitudinal study of relative risk.

BACKGROUND: Evidence relating to the potentially protective effect of smoking and alcohol consumption in relation to senescent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease is inconclusive.

METHODS: The relationship between wine and tobacco consumption and cognitive change was assessed within a longitudinal study of normal elderly people showing recent instability in cognitive functioning using an extensive battery of cognitive tests.

RESULTS: While moderate wine consumption was found to be associated with a fourfold diminishing of the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (OR = 0.26), as found in other studies, this effect was found to disappear when institutionalization was taken into account. Wine consumption was associated with an increased risk of decline over time in attention and in secondary memory. No protective effect for Alzheimer’s disease was found for smoking, although smoking was associated with a decreased risk for decline over time in attentional and visuospatial functioning. No clear combined effect of smoking and drinking was found, even though smoking was found to increase the risk of decline in language performance when adjusted on wine consumption.

CONCLUSIONS: There is no evidence to suggest that wine and tobacco consumption may protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

Source: Int J Epidemiol 1999 Feb;28(1):77-81

PMID: 10195668, UI: 99210043

(INSERM CJF 97-02, Epidemiology of Neurodegenerative Pathologies of the CNS, CRLC Val D’Aurelle, Montpellier, France.)

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