Alcohol consumption and incident dementia: evidence from the Sydney memory and ageing study

Megan Heffernan*, Karen A. Mather, Jing Xu, Amelia A. Assareh, Nicole A. Kochan, Simone Reppermund, Brian Draper, Julian N. Trollor, Perminder Sachdev, Henry Brodaty

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Alcohol consumption is a potentially modifiable risk factor for dementia, but the literature is not completely consistent. This inconsistency may be partly due to an interaction with the apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype, an established risk factor for Alzheimer's dementia. The aim of this study was to examine whether alcohol consumption is associated with incident dementia or decline in specific cognitive domains over 4 years, and if this effect is modified by APOE ϵ4 status. Non-demented community dwelling older adults (70-90 years) from an ongoing longitudinal study were assessed for cognitive impairment in attention/processing speed, language, executive function, visuospatial ability, and memory. Incident dementia was diagnosed according to DSM-IV criteria. Compared to those who did not drink in the previous 12 months, neither low consumption (HR 0.64 95 CI 0.3-1.4) or risky consumption (HR 0.58 95 CI 0.2-1.5) was associated with incident dementia. Carriers of the APOE ϵ4 allele were more likely to develop dementia, but there was no significant interaction with alcohol consumption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-538
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • cognitive decline
  • cognitive impairment
  • dementia


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