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Alcohol use as a potential moderator of risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease

6 December 2013


Several genetic and non-genetic factors have been shown to increase the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Alcohol consumption has been examined as one factor that may increase risk for AD in heavy drinkers and decrease risk for light to moderate drinkers. Given the potential interaction between alcohol use history and other risk factors, the current study evaluated the moderating effect of alcohol consumption on specific risk factors for AD, including history of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, type 2 diabetes, and presence of ApoE-e4 allele. In this cross-sectional study, participants included 299 community-dwelling older adults, aged 65-88, with possible or probable AD, who were enrolled as research subjects or clinical patients at an aging and Alzheimer’s disease clinic. History of diabetes was significantly skewed and kurtotic and removed from the final analysis. Results indicated that certain sociodemographic factors were positively predictive of lower age of AD onset. History of hyperlipidemia was significant for predicting lower age of onset of AD, but could reflect an age-related finding. Alcohol use was shown to moderate the relationship between history of hypertension and age of onset of AD, suggesting that low to moderate alcohol use may serve as a protective factor for individuals with a history of hypertension. Future directions and limitations of study findings are also discussed.


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