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Effects of the use of alcohol and cigarettes on cognition in elderly adults

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 November 2002

JOHN A. SCHINKA
Affiliation:
James A. Haley VA Medical Center, Tampa, Florida Department of Psychiatry, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
RODNEY D. VANDERPLOEG
Affiliation:
James A. Haley VA Medical Center, Tampa, Florida Department of Psychiatry, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida Department of Neurology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
MILES ROGISH
Affiliation:
James A. Haley VA Medical Center, Tampa, Florida Department of Clinical Psychology and Health, University of Florida, Tampa, Florida
AMY BORENSTEIN GRAVES
Affiliation:
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
JAMES A. MORTIMER
Affiliation:
Institute on Aging, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida
PATRICIA ISBELL ORDORICA
Affiliation:
James A. Haley VA Medical Center, Tampa, Florida Department of Psychiatry, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida

Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the independent and interactive effects of lifetime patterns of drinking and smoking on cognitive performance in the elderly. A sample of 395 individuals with varying histories of alcohol and cigarette use was drawn from the Charlotte County Healthy Aging Study, a community-based, cross-sectional study of randomly selected older adults of age 60 to 84. Dependent variables were the results of a neuropsychological battery that provided measures of general cognitive ability, executive function, and memory. Specifically, we examined (1) differences in performance among groups of abstainers, drinkers, and smokers, (2) the effects of lifetime drinking and smoking dose on cognition within the group of users, and (3) the effects of intensity of drinking and smoking on cognition. Potential methodological confounds, such as age, education, and medical history, were controlled by means of sampling and covariance procedures. Analyses failed to provide evidence for a beneficial J-curve or threshold effect for drinking, but did not reveal any detrimental effect. No detrimental effect of smoking was found in any analysis; nor was there any evidence of an interaction between alcohol and cigarette use on any cognitive measure. (JINS, 2002, 8, 811–818.)

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2002 The International Neuropsychological Society

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