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Study Finds Alcohol Education Effective with Elderly

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Senior citizens tended to reduce their drinking when provided educational information about the hazards of alcohol consumption, Reuters reported Dec. 2.

Researchers provided doctors and their elderly patients with alcohol use and risk data, then measured the effect of educational information. In one study group (the “patient group”), only patients got their clinical information; in another, both doctors and patients got the patient data (the “combined group”).

The authors found that the “patient group” patients cut their dangerous drinking by 23 percent and increased their “non-hazardous” drinking by 12 percent. “Combined group” patients cut their drinking by an average of more than one drink per week and also improved their drinking habits.

The researchers concluded that giving older patients personalized reports on drinking habits along with educational materials can reduce harmful drinking and increase safer drinking habits.

The study was published in the November 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Fink, A., Elliott, M. N., Tsai, M., and Beck, J. C. (2005) An Evaluation of an Intervention to Assist Primary Care Physicians in Screening and Educating Older Patients Who Use Alcohol. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 53(11): 1937-1943.

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