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Some alcohol ages well; some alcohol drinkers don't

April 23, 2010 | 11:38 am

Drinks With age does not necessarily come wisdom, not as it pertains to alcohol use. It would appear that far too many people age 60 and older failed to grasp some important lessons from those occasionally misspent younger years.

Researchers at UCLA School of Medicine surveyed 3,308 patients age 60 and older at primary care clinics in Santa Barbara, asking them about alcohol consumption and factors that might relate to it, such as medication use and whether they drive after drinking.

More than a third were found to be "at risk of harm" either because of the mix of alcohol with existing health conditions or specific medications -- or because of  the sheer quantity of alcohol consumed (and those related behaviors).
The researchers' conclusion:

"High-risk alcohol use was common among older adults in this large sample of primary care patients, and male Caucasians, those ages 60-64, and those with lower levels of education were most likely to have high-risk alcohol use of any type. Our findings could help physicians identify older patients at increased risk for problems from alcohol consumption."

Here's the full alcohol-and-older-drinkers study, published online this week in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, plus the news release hitting the high points.

And here's a recent Los Angeles Times story that may be of interest: You can cut back: Cold turkey isn't the only way to go. Research shows that many of us can analyze our own risk.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times