Nine-year ethanol intake trajectories and their association with 15-year cognitive decline among black and white adults

Shelly Ann M. Love, Kari E. North, Donglin Zeng, Natalia Petruski-Ivleva, Anna Kucharska-Newton, Priya Palta, Mariaelisa Graff, Laura Loehr, Sarah B. Jones, Gerardo Heiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Faster rates of age-related cognitive decline might result in early onset of cognitive impairment and dementia. The relationship between ethanol intake and cognitive decline, although studied extensively, remains poorly understood. Previous studies used single measurements of ethanol, and few were conducted in diverse populations. We assessed the association of 9-year trajectories of ethanol intake (1987-1998) with 15-year rate of decline in cognitive performance from mid- to late life (1996-2013) among 2,169 Black and 8,707 White participants of the US Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study using multivariable linear regression models. We hypothesized that stable, low to moderate drinking would be associated with lesser 15-year cognitive decline, and stable, heavy drinking with greater 15-year cognitive decline. Stable, low to moderate drinking (for Blacks, adjusted mean difference (MD) = 0.03 (95% confidence interval (CI): −0.13, 0.19); for Whites, adjusted MD = 0.02 (95% CI: −0.05, 0.08)) and stable, heavy drinking (for Blacks, adjusted MD = 0.08 (95% CI: −0.34, 0.50); for Whites, adjusted MD = −0.03 (95% CI: −0.18, 0.11)) in midlife compared with stable never-drinking were not associated with 15-year decline in general cognitive function from mid- to late life. No association was observed for the stable former and “mostly” drinking trajectories with 15-year cognitive decline. Stable low, low to moderate, and stable heavy drinking in midlife are not associated with lesser and greater cognitive decline, respectively, from mid- to late life among Black and White adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-800
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected].


  • African-Americans
  • Aging
  • Cognitive decline
  • Ethanol
  • Middle-aged
  • Multivariable regression models
  • Trajectories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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