Combined impact of smoking and heavy alcohol use on cognitive decline in early old age: Whitehall II prospective cohort study.

  • Hagger-Johnson G
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Abstract

Background: Identifying modifiable risk factors for cognitive decline may inform prevention of dementia. Aims: To examine the combined impact of cigarette smoking and heavy alcohol consumption on cognitive decline from midlife. Method: Prospective cohort study (Whitehall II cohort) with three clinical examinations in 1997/99, 2002/04 and 2007/09. Participants were 6473 adults (72% men), mean age 55.76 years (s.d. = 6.02) in 1997/99. Four cognitive tests, assessed three times over 10 years, combined into a global z-score (mean 0, s.d. = 1). Results: Age-related decline in the global cognitive score was faster in individuals who were smoking heavy drinkers than in non-smoking moderate alcohol drinkers (reference group). The interaction term (P = 0.04) suggested that the combined effects of smoking and alcohol consumption were greater than their individual effects. Adjusting for age, gender, education and chronic diseases, 10-year decline in global cognition was −0.42 z-scores (95% CI−0.45 to −0.39) for the reference group. In individuals who were heavy alcohol drinkers who also smoked the decline was −0.57 z-scores (95% CI−0.67 to −0.48); 36% faster than the reference group. Conclusions: Individuals who were smokers who drank alcohol heavily had a 36% faster cognitive decline, equivalent to an age-effect of 2 extra years over 10-year follow-up, compared with individuals who were non-smoking moderate drinkers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

Author-supplied keywords

  • aging; alcohol drinking patterns; cognitive impair

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Authors

  • Gareth, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom, g.hagger-johnson@ucl.ac.uk Sabia, Séverine, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, United KingdomBrunner, Er Hagger-Johnson

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