Moderate and heavy drinkers are more likely to reach 85 without developing dementia or other cognitive impairment, according to a new study from the University of California, San Diego.
The study considered how factors like genetics, diet, and the environment affect the onset of dementia and found that those who consume alcohol at higher levels had a higher likelihood of reaching the age of 85 without developing Alzheimer's, dementia, or other cognitive diseases.
"Moderate and heavy drinkers had 2-fold higher odds of living to age 85 without cognitive impairment relative to non-drinkers," the study says.
Moderate drinking is considered as consuming up to one alcoholic beverage daily for adult women of any age, as well as men aged 65 and older, according to a UC San Diego statement.
Heavy drinking is defined as upwards of three or more alcoholic beverages daily for all adult women, and men aged 65 and older, the statement says. The definition also applies to adult men younger than 65 who consume four drinks daily.
Still, the study's authors caution that they did not determine that moderate or heavy drinking aids in longevity of life.
"[The study] does not suggest drinking is responsible for increased longevity and cognitive health," UC San Diego said. "Alcohol consumption, particularly wine, is associated with higher incomes and education levels, which in turn are associated with lower rates of smoking, lower rates of mental illness, and better access to health care."
The long-range study was focused primarily on white, middle-class men and women living in Rancho Bernardo, a master-planned community in California's North County. UC San Diego studied 1,344 older adults between 1984 and 2013, with all participants having at least some level of college education.