Conventional wisdom and a substantial body of scientific evidence suggests that the intake of small amounts of alcohol confers a variety of health benefits to the user including reduced risk of coronary artery disease, type-2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Given that this is the case, it is common medical practice to recommend to those individuals who already drink alcohol that they continue to drink, albeit moderately. Although this practice makes intuitive sense, even small acute doses of alcohol have been shown to have subtle, yet measurable effects on neurocognition and psychomotor performance in the user which may confer some risk to that individual. Preliminary evidence from our laboratory suggests the effect of these moderate drinking episodes on psychomotor and neurocognitive performance may differd epending on the individual's age as well as a host of other individual factors. The proposed project extends these preliminary findings through measurement of electrophysiological and psychomotor changes associated with acute moderate drinking and comparing results between two relevant age groups: younger adults (25-40 years of age) and older adults (55- 70 years of age). Although not the primary focus of this proposal, exploratory analyses characterizing potential gender effects will also be conducted. To this end, we intend to recruit equal numbers of men and women for the study.
. Drinking alcohol in small amounts may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. However, the consumption of even small amounts of alcohol in a single sitting results in temporary changes in brain function that may increase the risk of automobile accidents and other potentially damaging events. The role that a person's age and sex plays in the mechanism by which alcohol affects relevant brain systems is unclear. This project aims to clarify these issues, which may help improve recommendations for safer drinking in the general public.
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|Boissoneault, Jeff; Sklar, Alfredo; Prather, Robert et al. (2014) Acute effects of moderate alcohol on psychomotor, set shifting, and working memory function in older and younger social drinkers. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 75:870-9|