Much attention is paid to the public health problem of teen drinking. We know that alcohol affects the developing teenage brain differently than the brains of adults, causing problems with memory, learning and impulse control. However, Baylor University researchers recently suggested that people on the other end of the age spectrum may be at an even greater risk of alcohol-related health problems. “Health implications such as falls, accidents and poor medicine-taking are pretty easy to conclude,” said study author Douglas B. Matthews, Ph.D.
The researchers are also looking at the relationship between alcohol abuse and memory loss, other cognitive impairment and physical coordination. Says Matthews, “We know a lot of neurobiological changes occur during aging, which underlie age-related cognitive and behavioral deficits. It’s reasonable to suspect a significant interaction exists between age-related and alcohol-induced effects in the brain.” At present, around ten percent of people over 65 engage in risky drinking behavior. The researchers point out that with the aging of the baby boomers, this may become an increasingly common and costly problem.
Copyright © AgeWise, 2013 reporting on study from Baylor University