Alcohol Cessation in Late Life is Associated with Lower Risk of Cognitive Impairment among the Older Adults in China

Xiao Chang ZHANG, Xiang GAO, Yue Bin LYU, Jin Hui ZHOU, Yuan WEI, Zhao Xue YIN, Ji Xiang MA, Chen MAO, Xiao Ming SHI

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Evidence regarding alcohol consumption and cognitive impairment is controversial. Whether cessation of drinking alcohol by non-dependent drinkers alters the risk of cognitive impairment remains unknown. This study prospectively evaluated the potential association between the history of lifetime alcohol cessation and risk of cognitive impairment. Methods: This study included 15,758 participants age 65 years or older, selected from the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey (CLHLS) that covered 23 provinces in China. Current alcohol use status, duration of alcohol cessation, and alcohol consumption before abstinence were self-reported by participants; cognitive function was evaluated using Mini-mental State Examination (MMSE). Cause-specific hazard models and restricted cubic splines were applied to estimate the effect of alcohol use on cognitive impairment. Results: Among the 15,758 participants, mean (± SD) age was 82.8 years (± 11.9 years), and 7,199 (45.7%) were males. During a mean of 3.9 years of follow-up, 3,404 cases were identified as cognitive impairment. Compared with current drinkers, alcohol cessation of five to nine years [adjusted HR, 0.79 (95% CI: 0.66–0.96)] and more than nine years [adjusted HR, 0.82 (95% CI: 0.69–0.98)] were associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment. Conclusion: A longer duration of alcohol cessation was associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment assessed by MMSE. Alcohol cessation is never late for older adults to prevent cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-519
Number of pages11
JournalBiomedical and Environmental Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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