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Background: Recent data demonstrate that moderate consumption of alcohol (13–52 grams of ethanol per day) may be beneficial to cognitive functioning among older adults.
Methods: Longitudinal growth curve analyses controlling for baseline age, body mass index (BMI), education/income, migrant status, smoking, history of diagnosed stroke, hypertension, coronary heart disease (CHD), depression, diabetes and stroke (time-varying) were used to examine the relationship between alcohol consumption, gender and cognitive performance over an 8-year follow-up period. The sample included 1624 Japanese American community-dwelling adults aged 65 and older who were cognitively intact at baseline and participated in at least one follow-up examination. Cognitive performance was measured using the Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument (CASI; 0–100 point scale), a global test of cognitive function.
Results: Current consumers (n=480) scored significantly (p<0.05) higher on CASI (mean rate of change−1.22 CASI units) over the 8-year follow-up period than past consumers or abstainers (n=1144; mean rate of change−3.77 CASI units). There was no significant main effect for gender, or an alcohol and gender interaction.
Conclusions: This study provides further support regarding the beneficial effects of moderate alcohol consumption on cognitive performance over time. Observed benefits were not modified by gender. Future studies need to determine whether alcohol preserves cognition directly or whether other factors such as physiology or cultural drinking practices are driving the observed association.
Background: Disturbances in rest–activity rhythm are prominent and disabling symptoms in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Nighttime sleep is severely fragmented and daytime activity is disrupted by multiple napping episodes. In most institutional environments, light levels are very low and may not be sufficient to enable the circadian clock to entrain to the 24-hour day. The purpose of this randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial was to test the effectiveness of morning bright light therapy in reducing rest–activity (circadian) disruption in institutionalized patients with severe AD.
Method: Subjects (n=46, mean age 84 years) meeting the NINCDS-ADRDA (National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke – the Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association) AD diagnostic criteria were recruited from two large, skilled nursing facilities in San Francisco, California. The experimental group received one hour (09:30–10:30) of bright light exposure (≥2500lux in gaze direction) Monday through Friday for 10weeks. The control group received usual indoor light (150–200lux). Nighttime sleep efficiency, sleep time, wake time and number of awakenings and daytime wake time were assessed using actigraphy. Circadian rhythm parameters were also determined from the actigraphic data using cosinor analysis and nonparametric techniques. Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test the primary study hypotheses.
Results and conclusion: Although significant improvements were found in subjects with aberrant timing of their rest–activity rhythm, morning bright light exposure did not induce an overall improvement in measures of sleep or the rest–activity in all treated as compared to control subjects. The results indicate that only subjects with the most impaired rest–activity rhythm respond significantly and positively to a brief (one hour) light intervention.