The Relationship Between Midlife and Late Life Alcohol Consumption, APOE e4 and the Decline in Learning and Memory Among Older Adults

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  1. Brian Downer1,*,
  2. Faika Zanjani2 and
  3. David W. Fardo3
  1. 1Graduate Center for Gerontology, University of Kentucky College of Public Health, J524, KY Clinic, 740 South Limestone, Lexington, KY 40536-0284, USA
  2. 2SPHL-Behavioral & Community Health, University of Maryland, 2387 School of Public Health Building College Park, MD 20742-2611, USA
  3. 3Department of Biostatistics, University of Kentucky College of Public Health, Suite 205, 725 Rose Street, Lexington, KY 40536-0082, USA
  1. *Corresponding author: Graduate Center for Gerontology, University of Kentucky College of Public Health, 740 South Limestone, J524 KY Clinic, Lexington, KY, 40536-0284, USA. Tel: +1-859-218-0148; Fax: +1-859-323-5747; E-mail: brian.downer3{at}uky.edu
  • Received May 2, 2013.
  • Revision requested June 28, 2013.
  • Revision received August 15, 2013.
  • Accepted August 23, 2013.

Abstract

Aims: The aim of the study was to determine whether the trajectory of learning and memory is modified according to an interaction between midlife or late life alcohol consumption status and the presence of one or more APOE e4 alleles. Methods: This was a secondary analysis of cognitive, genetic and alcohol consumption data collected from members of the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort. Results: Light and moderate alcohol consumption during late life was associated with greater decline in learning and memory among APOE e4 carriers, whereas light and moderate alcohol consumption was associated with an increase in learning and memory among non-APOE e4 carriers. There was not a significant interaction between midlife alcohol consumption status and APOE e4 on the trajectory of learning and memory. Conclusion: Light to moderate alcohol consumption during late life may protect against a decline in learning and memory for non-APOE e4 allele carriers, but not for older adults who carry one or more APOE e4 alleles.

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