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 November 27, 2014 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 November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
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