Korean J Psychopharmacol.  2003 Sep;14(3):239-243.

Relationships between Lifetime Alcohol Consumption and Cognitive Function in an Elderly Population: Effect Modification by Level of Education

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Chosun University, Gwangju, Korea.
  • 2Department of Neuropsychiatry & Research Institute of Medical Science, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea.
  • 3Naju National Hospital, Naju, Korea.
  • 4Department of Geriatric Psychiatry, St. John of God Psychiatric Hospital, Gwangju, Korea.


The relationship between lifetime alcohol consumption and cognitive function in an elderly population has been unclear. This study aimed to investigate, 1) the relationship between alcohol consumption and cognitive function, and 2) possible effect modification in the relationship by level of education. METHODS: The study group consisted of 106 community dwelling old men aged 65 or over, who were divided into two subgroups: with (n=75) and without (n=31) formal education. Life-long duration and amount of alcohol consumption, and cognitive function (Korean version of Mini-Mental State Examination;MMSE-K) were assessed, and the relationships between the variables were estimated by Spearman's rho. RESULTS: No significant differences were found in life-long duration and amount of alcohol consumption between the subgroups with and without education. However, relationships between alcohol consumption and cognitive function differed between the subgroups. No correlations were observed in the subgroup with education. However in the subgroup without education, the longer duration and larger amount of alcohol consumption were significantly correlated with lower scores on the MMSE-K. CONCLUSION: The elderly population with low levels of education may be particularly vulnerable to cognitive impairment related with life-long alcohol consumption.


Alcohol consumption; Cognitive function; Education; Elderly
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