One national news broadcast, several major newspapers, one wire source, and numerous consumer online medical sources report a study suggesting that mental decline is associated with heavy drinking in middle-aged men.
ABC World News (1/15, story 8, 1:40, Sawyer) reported that a study (1/16) published online Jan. 15 in the journal Neurology “shows that beer and wine speeds up memory loss, but it seems only if you drink a certain amount.”
The Los Angeles Times (1/15, Healy) reports, “Middle-aged men who consume an average of more than 2½ alcoholic drinks per day accelerate the rate at which their memories decline by almost six years over a 10-year span,” the study found. What’s more, “while a higher consumption of spirits such as vodka, gin, whiskey or scotch was linked to the fastest rates of mental decline in men, researchers saw little difference between the cognitive loss seen in heavy beer drinkers (who drank more than 2½ 12-ounce beers per day) and that seen in men who quaffed a half-bottle of wine or more per day.”
USA Today (1/15, Painter) reports that the study, which also “looked at women...found no clear results for them.” The research suggests that “lighter drinking does not contribute to cognitive decline.” The study’s lead author said, “The findings are in agreement with previous studies and suggest that moderate alcohol consumption is probably not deleterious for cognitive outcomes.”
MedPage Today (1/16, Gever) notes that the study received some of its funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Also covering the story are the AP (1/16, Ritter), the NBC News (1/16, Alexander) website, the TIME (1/15, Sifferlin) “Healthland” blog, HealthDay (1/16, Salamon), Medscape (1/16, Anderson), and the Huffington Post (1/15).
Alcohol tied to nearly 80,000 deaths in North and Latin America annually. The CNN (1/15, Henry) “The Chart” blog reports that according to a study published Jan. 15 in the journal Addiction, approximately “80,000 people die as a result of drinking alcohol each year in North and Latin America.” Researchers arrived at this conclusion after looking “at alcohol as the cause of death by examining death certificates over a two-year period in 16 North and Latin American countries.” The study also found that “men accounted for 84% of alcohol-related deaths.”
Posted by: Steven Almany, MD