The purpose of this review was an examination of the biochemical and behavioral literature on alcohol and aging. The biochemical literature indicated that older animls show differences in response to alcohol using metabolic measures such as: Alcohol dehydrogenase, blood alcohol concentration, and acetaldehyde. However, these differences were not always in the predicted direction (i. e, a reduction with increasing age), suggesting that changes in these metabolic factors do not fully explain differences among age groups in response to alcohol. Behavioral data demonstrated that preference for alcohol was affected by the age of the animal and/or previous experience with the drug. Generally, alcohol preference decreases with advancing age, but this was dependent in a large part on the genotype of the animal and the concentration of alcohol used. Several methodological problems are apparent in the literature on age-related ahanges in response to alcohol (e. g., narrow range of ages used, inadequate dose-response curves and an absence of proper control groups). Ways of reducing these problems and directions for future research were discussed.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Preparation of this manuscript was supported by a NIAAA Postdoctoral fellowship AA- 05021-01, awarded to W. G. W. and a research grant (AG-00473-04)fr om the National Institute on Aging. Thanks are extended to Dr. Tibor Palfai for comments and suggestions. Reprint requests should be addressed to: Dr. W. Gibson Wood, All- University Gerontology Center, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, 13210.