OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association between alcohol consumption and mortality in patients recently diagnosed with mild Alzheimer's disease (AD).
DESIGN: A post hoc analysis study based on a clinical trial population.
SETTING: The data reported were collected as part of the Danish Alzheimer's Intervention Study (DAISY), a longitudinal multicentre randomised controlled study on the efficacy of psychosocial intervention in patients with mild AD across five county districts in Denmark.
PARTICIPANTS: 321 patients with mild AD (Mini-Mental State Examination ≥20) were included. Data regarding current daily alcohol consumption were obtained from the patient's primary caregivers at inclusion.
MAIN OUTCOME: All-cause mortality retrieved from The Danish Civil Registration System over a period of 36 months after baseline.
RESULTS: Information about alcohol consumption was obtained from all 321 study participants: 8% were abstinent, 71% only had alcohol occasionally (1 or <1 unit/day), 17% had 2-3 units/day and 4% had more than 3 units/day. An analysis adjusted for a range of potential confounders demonstrated a reduced mortality for patients with moderate alcohol consumption (2-3 units/day): HR 0.23 (95% CI (0.08 to 0.69)) compared with patients who had 1 or <1 unit/day. Mortality was not significantly different in abstinent patients or in patients with an alcohol consumption of more than 3 units/day, compared with patients drinking 1 or <1 unit/day.
CONCLUSIONS: In this cohort of patients with mild AD, moderate alcohol consumption (2-3 units/day) was associated with a significantly lower mortality over a period of 36 months. Further studies are needed in this area. These may especially focus on the association between alcohol consumption and cognitive decline in patients with AD.