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More good news about moderate drinking for men

More good news about moderate drinking for men

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Middle-aged men, who are constantly being told to eat better, drink less and exercise more, got a piece of heartening news Monday -- the occasional alcoholic drink can keep them sharp in old age.

An 18-year study of 3,500 men older than 50 showed that nondrinkers and heavy drinkers had more mental deterioration than moderate drinkers.

The report, published in the American Journal of Public Health, said men who had up to one alcoholic drink a day while middle aged did better on mental tests after they turned 70 than men who drank more or who did not drink at all.

"Men who had consumed up to one drink a day during middle age were later found to have significantly better cognitive test results than nondrinkers," Daniel Galanis of the National Institute on Aging and colleagues wrote.

They studied Japanese-American men living in Hawaii who have been taking part in a larger study on lifestyle and health.

"Because dementia is a common and devastating condition among older adults, even a modest effect on cognition could have broad public health implications for the elderly," the researchers wrote.

The volunteers filled out detailed questionnaires on drinking, smoking and other habits. They were given various exams from the time the study started in 1964 until recently.

Galanis, now at the Hawaii Department of Health, examined the results of some of these tests.

"While these results may add to the growing body of evidence supporting health benefits of moderate alcohol intake, we advise caution in recommending moderate consumption of alcohol for all elderly persons," they wrote.

"The health risks of any drinking may outweigh any potential benefits for many elderly persons."

Moderate drinking has also been associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

Copyright 2000 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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RELATED SITE:
American Public Health Association -- American Journal of Public Health
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