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The Association Between Alcohol Use and the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 12 ]


Devorah Heymann, Yaakov Stern, Stephanie Cosentino, Oksana Tatarina-Nulman, Jhedy N. Dorrejo and Yian Gu   Pages 1356 - 1362 ( 7 )


Objective: To examine the relationship between alcohol, both the amount and type, and cognitive decline in a cohort of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients.

Methods: A cohort of 360 patients with early AD in New York, Boston, Baltimore and Paris were followed-up biannually for up to 19.28 years. At each visit, the cognitive profile of the patients was assessed using the modified Mini-Mental State Examination (mMMSE), and patients’ alcohol intake, including beverage type, was reported by patients’ primary caregivers. General estimating equation analysis was used to determine whether baseline alcohol use was associated with the rate of cognitive decline.

Results: Heavy drinkers (8 or more alcoholic drinks/week) had a faster cognitive decline, deteriorating 1.849 more points on their mMMSE score annually compared to abstainers (P = 0.001), or 2.444 more points compared to mild-moderate drinkers (1-7 alcoholic drinks/week) (P = 0.008). There was no significant difference when comparing mild-moderate drinkers to abstainers. Increasing standard drinks of hard liquor, but not beer or wine, was also associated with a faster rate of cognitive decline (β = -0.117 P = 0.001).

Conclusion: Heavy alcohol consumption and more hard liquor are associated with a faster rate of cognitive decline in AD patients, suggesting that they may hasten progression of AD. Our results suggest that alcohol drinking habits might alter the course of AD.


Alcohol, Alzheimer's disease, cognitive decline, dementia, disease progression, hard liquor, risk factors in epidemiology.


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