(HealthDay News) — For middle-aged U.S. adults, a history of alcohol use disorder is associated with increased odds of severe memory impairment, according to a study published online June 9 in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

Elzbieta Kuzma, PhD, from the University of Exeter Medical School in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the correlation between history of alcohol use disorder and the onset of severe cognitive and memory impairment in a nationally representative U.S. cohort. Participants included 6,542 middle-aged adults, born from 1931–1941, who were assessed at baseline in 1992 and underwent biannual follow-up from 1996–2010. The three-item modified CAGE questionnaire was used to assess history of alcohol use disorder.

During up to 19 years of follow-up, the researchers found that 90 participants experienced severe cognitive impairment and 74 experienced severe memory impairment. The odds of severe memory impairment were more than doubled with a history of alcohol use disorders (odds ratio, 2.21; 95% confidence interval, 1.27–3.85; P=0.01). The odds of severe cognitive impairment were increased with a history of alcohol use disorders, but the correlation was not statistically significant (odds ratio, 1.80; 95% confidence interval, 0.97–3.33; P=0.06).

“These results reinforce the need to consider the relationship between alcohol consumption and cognition from a multifactorial lifespan perspective,” the authors write.

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