Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

After A Few Drinks, Older Adults More Impaired Than They Think

Date:
March 5, 2009
Source:
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Summary:
Older adults may be more affected by a couple of glasses of wine than their younger counterparts are -- yet they are less likely to be aware of it, a new study suggests.

Older adults may be more affected by a couple of glasses of wine than their younger counterparts are -- yet they are less likely to be aware of it, a new study suggests.

Related Articles


The findings, published in the March issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, suggest that older adults should be particularly careful about driving after social drinking.

"How many times have you asked someone, 'Are you OK to drive?'" said senior researcher Sara Jo Nixon, Ph.D., of the University of Florida Gainesville. The problem, according to Nixon, is that there is a "disassociation" between people's perceptions of their abilities after a few drinks and their actual capabilities.

And this may be particularly true of older adults, Nixon and her colleagues found.

For their study, the researchers recruited 42 adults between the ages of 50 and 74, and 26 adults ages 25 to 35. Participants were randomly assigned to drink either a moderate amount of alcohol or a nonalcoholic "placebo" beverage. Each person in the alcohol group was given enough to achieve the same blood alcohol level.

Next, all participants completed the so-called Trail Making Test, which requires takers to connect numbered and lettered dots, in order, as quickly as possibly. It gauges visual-motor coordination, planning and the ability to move from one thought to the next.

They took the test twice, 25 minutes and 75 minutes after drinking.

In general, the researchers found, older adults in the alcohol group performed more poorly on the first test than their younger counterparts did -- an age gap not seen in the placebo group. Yet, when asked how they subjectively felt, the older drinkers thought they were less impaired.

The extra effects of alcohol on seniors are subtle, Nixon pointed out, but could become important behind the wheel of a car.

Her advice to older social drinkers: "Sit around for a while and let the alcohol metabolize. Don't drink and run -- stay and have dessert."

It's not clear why the same blood level of alcohol would affect older and younger adults differently. But it does not seem to be a difference in alcohol metabolism, Nixon said. Instead, she explained, alcohol may affect the brain of older adults differently.

Nixon also pointed out that the study looked only at the immediate effects of alcohol and does not speak to the potential long-term effects of social drinking on brain function. Many studies have suggested that moderate drinking -- such as a glass of wine each day -- may have long-term health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gilbertson, R., Ceballos, N.A., Prather, R., and Nixon, S.J. Effects of Acute Alcohol Consumption in Older and Younger Adults: Perceived Impairment Versus Psychomotor Performance. J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 70 (2): 242-252, 2009

Cite This Page:

Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. "After A Few Drinks, Older Adults More Impaired Than They Think." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090305091040.htm>.
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. (2009, March 5). After A Few Drinks, Older Adults More Impaired Than They Think. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090305091040.htm
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. "After A Few Drinks, Older Adults More Impaired Than They Think." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090305091040.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Smart Wristband to Shock Away Bad Habits

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 23, 2015) A Boston start-up is developing a wristband they say will help users break bad habits by jolting them with an electric shock. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

Amazing Technology Allows Blind Mother to See Her Newborn Son

RightThisMinute (Jan. 23, 2015) Not only is Kathy seeing her newborn son for the first time, but this is actually the first time she has ever seen a baby. Kathy and her sister, Yvonne, have been legally blind since childhood, but thanks to an amazing new technology, eSight glasses, which gives those who are legally blind the ability to see, she got the chance to see the birth of her son. It&apos;s an incredible moment and an even better story. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins