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A Toast to Health: Study Explores Drinking and Healthy Aging

As people age, research shows that there is greater sensitivity to alcohol. Alcohol can also interact with medications used by older persons and may accelerate aging of cells. WISE & Healthy Aging is participating in a research study to determine whether providing online education is a viable way to inform older adults about alcohol. Led and conducted by the independent research team of Dr. Arlene Fink and Dr. John Beck, the study is funded by The National Institutes of Health. Dr. Fink is a professor of Medicine, and of Public Health, at UCLA. Dr. Beck is a geriatrician who specializes in the care of older adults and an Emeritus Professor of Medicine at UCLA.

Participants in the study will fill out a survey instrument about medications they are taking, how often they drink, and other factors. They will then receive tailored results that tell them if their drinking levels are considered health-wise, risky or harmful. Participants then read about effects of alcohol on physical health, medication interactions and mental functioning in older adults. A questionnaire will then be administered to determine how much of the information has been retained.

This study aims to test the feasibility of designing easily accessible and effective educational materials that can reach a large Internet audience including patients, their physicians and other health care providers. The program is unlike others currently available because it is based on theory and practice; offers screening and education; provides detailed personalized feedback online or in print; and covers the spectrum of medical conditions and functional status problems affecting older drinking adults.

WISE & Healthy Aging will assist in distribution of an electronic version of the information and survey, a convenient and easily accessible tool to be used by doctors, counselors and other caregivers in the future.

Participants in the study must be 55 years or older and have had at least one alcoholic drink in the past 12 months. The study process will take approximately one hour and involves reading information, taking a survey and providing feedback about it twice. Participants will be paid $25 for their time.

To participate in the study please call WISE & Healthy Aging in Santa Monica at 310.394.9871 ext. 444 or e-mail [email protected]

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